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JW Insider

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  1. OK. If that's really your position, then what can I do? As it turns out, the case you knew about was almost as germane to the topic, as saying that there really are mathematicians who say that 2+2=5. And that this somehow proves that you shouldn't believe renowned mathematicians. I say that it doesn't have any effect on the evidence of real mathematicians, but you appear to be claiming that anyone who writes any nonsense on a subject can count himself among the others in that field.
  2. Not saying that they can't be flawed, just saying that they happen to fit the evidence from several other independent lines of evidence. So far, there is no evidence that they are flawed. What you brought up was an interesting topic for discussion, and I appreciated it, but it turns out that you are using some speculation that may or may not be true, and then insisting that your speculation is evidence. I'm sure you realize that this is not an honest way to make use of evidence. When you say "couldn't possibly" you are doing the same thing. You are turning your speculation and conjecture and trying to turn it into facts and evidence. Taking care of the affairs of the enemies does not require travel, only that he "makes arrangements." Remember that he still would have left generals and messengers in place while he rushed home. I'm sure that this can and did happen. Just that we don't have real evidence that it happened in this case. Between 609 and 605 Babylon was just beginning to flex its muscles. That doesn't mean that all nations were immediately brought under their control. "Settling the affairs" could even have been terms of peace or truce for some of these nations until he could come back later and finish the job. I have never claimed that 607 is not a viable date. It actually occurred somewhere between 608 and 606. All I am saying is that there is no evidence that the destruction of Jerusalem occurred during that year, and that there is overwhelming evidence that it did not occur that year. Perhaps something else happened that year which perfectly fits what Jeremiah had in mind about Babylon being given 70 years of rule. Perhaps Jeremiah used the term 70 in a sense similar to the idea in Psalms that man's lifespan is 70 or 80. Just because people lived to be 66 or 75 or 83 years of age doesn't change the idea. Also, I would have no problem with anyone claiming that the date is not infallible but is based on FAITH. That would clear up everything. It's when the claim is made that it is correct because it was worked backwards from a so-called "absolute" date, that we have a problem defending it to anyone who asks a reason from us. Here's my opinion on this so-called "Oslo Chronology" There is no such thing as an "Oslo Chronology." As you are aware, a man named Rolf Furuli, a Witness, has come up with the idea of the "Oslo Chronology" I'm guessing because he is from Oslo and really is the kind of egotist that would like to be seen as the man who saved WTS chronology. But from an academic perspective, it was a scholastic fraud. I don't mean that he might not personally believe in it. The way he uses evidence is not up to academic standards. It makes too much use of what is often called "academic dishonesty" in terms of the claims he makes about evidence in order to dismiss it. If you do this once, it can be seen as a mistake, twice, and you just appear sloppy, but if at least 40 such false claims always fit your unique theory, then you lose credibility as any kind of researcher. There is no way these books can be seen as anything but special pleading built on dozens of logical fallacies. You will never be able to find a historian or wannabe historian who could defend these books. Rolf Furuli is a man with whom I have communicated on several occasions. He proposed a theory that we could take about 10 different lines of evidence that indicated 587 for the 18th/19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, and pretend that 8 of them don't actually matter at all. In fact he makes the false claim that all of them are built on misunderstandings of just one or two lines of evidence, because he obviously doesn't want to admit that the others are truly independent lines of evidence. So he focuses most of his "best evidence" against a single tablet (which he pretends is somehow the only source of identifying the years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign). And what does he finally conclude? That it's very likely a fraud. His evidence for it being a fraud is laughable, because he proposes that it was changed by a museum curator, even though there is absolutely no evidence for this, and plenty of evidence against it. He says that, failing that, you can look at the astronomical sightings on this particular astronomical diary and tie them to a time 20 years off. I even followed a debate where I double-checked every one of Furuli's findings on that tablet, while another person debated an elder from Ohio, and we all discovered that Furuli was either extremely sloppy or dishonest. In fact, even though the the other elder still wanted to believe Furuli, he finally came up with his own alternate scheme about how several of these sightings might have been 20 years off, but he had to stop defending most of his evidence. Furuli's attempt was a complete mess. Furuli is not a chronologist or historian, and as it turns out, doesn't even have a good understanding of the Bible's chronology. (I pointed out some evidence for this in a previous discussion on jw-archive.) Because he created a couple of books that are "laughed at" by actual historians and archaeologists, I'm afraid he has done a great disservice to the credibility of the WTS. The fact that the WTS used some of his unique ideas in a set of articles a couple years ago, just makes this matter of honesty much more important.
  3. Allen, The 7th Day Adventist Pastor, Larry E Ford, wrote the book you are quoting from. As a Seventh Day Adventist he continues to believe a lot of the ideas that we have dropped and rejected. We also still have many ideas in common. His reason for bringing up Rand, from 1946, is to provide a kind of scattershot bunch of ideas that he can then reject where he wants and accept where he wants. They provide some hints that he, Ford, has some backing, although he is rejecting more of Rand than he accepts. Anyone who wants to see the book you are quoting from can find it on Google Books at https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1512714143 Understanding the "Beasts" of Revelation 13 By Larry E. Ford Here are some highlights quoted from the book: Some say that the Bible is 25% prophecy; some say 33%; and some say 80%. I would say that, from Genesis to Revelation, it is all prophetic. It is not prophetic just because Scripture is filled with symbols and types. . . All of the past historical events were written as warning messages to "us" —that is, to the ones who are alive during the generation in which it is all to be fulfilled. Just recently, the Watchtower dropped this similar view that every parable and narrative could somehow be turned into a prophecy about 1918, 1919, 1922, 1925, 1928, 1931, 1935, etc., based on the idea that this generation starting in 1914 was so important to Bible prophecy that "everything" must somehow refer to "us." (Elijah's experiences, Naboth's Vineyard, Prodigal Son, etc.) So we have a new rule that only when the Bible explicitly presents it as a type, only then do we have a right to declare the anti-type. We continue to keep a few exceptions around, such as the "faithful and discreet slave" (GB) "Nethinim" (GB helpers) "Jehonadab (great crowd) and Nebuchadnezzar's 7 years of madness (=2,520 years of Messianic rulership "madness" until Nebuchadnezzar, representing Jesus' rulership, returns to the throne). But there is one other exception that we rarely refer to any more, but when we do mention it, it is often in support of a bit of our chronology. It's the "sabbath." Seventh Day Adventists, who focus on the meaning of the sabbath a lot, have the same teaching: This witness and warning are embedded in the meaning of all of God's Holy Days, including the weekly seventh-day Sabbath (compare Lev. 23 to Heb. 4). They are all prophetic insights into God's plan of salvation. Rand was one of those who expounded on the idea that if Peter said "a day with Jehovah is 1,000 years" then the first 6 days of the week represented man's attempts to rule himself for 6,000 years, and the final day refers to the 1,000 year millennium of Christ. This should sound familiar since we believe the same. The problem is that Rand -- like many others -- thought that it would be so much more understandable if Adam was created around 4000 BC, Jesus born around 0 BC, and Judgement Day at about 2000 CE. See how much simpler that is? (Therefore, others even placed the Flood at 2000 BC, David at 1000 BC.) This idea tickles the ears, because the schema is so easy. But he also managed to come up with a schema that allowed for other periods of time that Adventists still hold dear: the "Time of the End" [Last Days] a time for "signs" to be seen, for the "good news" to be preached, etc. Rand did this by referring to the 1,000 years in our common calendar as "solar" time, but claiming that the same years were different in "lunar" time, and then believed that "sacred" time was the mean (average) between the two. Clever, eh? Look what he can do now, and how he can continue to give prophetic significance to those early days of "new light" and "present truth" that began arising in the 18th century with men like Darby (Plymouth Brethren), Second Adventists, etc. Howard B. Rand, in his book Study in Daniel (chapter 24: "End of Days"), gives a lunar, mean, and solar calendrical method for pinpointing the 20th century as the "end time" when Jesus Christ will ultimately intervene to put a halt to the destruction of the planet. He dubs the 180 years between the lunar termination (1821-1822) and the solar termination (2001-2002) cited below as the Time of the End. Take note of his methodology in the following quote from his Destiny Magazine, August 1946: Now time in the Bible is measured by lunar, mean and solar years, so there will be three terminal dates for the 6,000 years on each of these respective scales. The terminal of 6,000 lunar years from Adam's fall is 1821-2 A.D.; the terminal year on mean or sacred time is 1911-12; and the solar year terminal is 2001-2. The present year, 1963 A.D., is 5961-2 years from Adam and 38 years remain in of the full 6000 solar years yet to run, although we are 142 years beyond the terminal of 6000 lunar years and it is 52 years since the expiration of 6000 years on sacred or mean time. Rand also came up with something quite similar to what Brother Albert Schroeder came up with when he thought of changing the beginning of the "generation" to October 4, 1957 -- the launch of Sputnik. Note what Rand said, from your same book, of course: Rand uses Daniel 9:27 to make a point about the terminal point of the solar time. The expression "overspreading of abominations" is the focus of the discussion. Note the following citation by Rand: Rev. [A]lbert Barnes, in his commentary on Daniel written in 1853 A.D., states that the Hebrew word rendered overspreading means properly "a wing," like the wing of a bird, and he shall make desolate actually means "to lay waste, to make desolate." Dr. Barnes was puzzled as to what this "thing with wings pouring out desolation" could mean. It was impossible for Dr. Barnes to comprehend its full meaning nearly one hundred years ago. But no man today needs to be in ignorance of what "winged things passing overhead and pouring out desolation on the people below" really means (Ibid; p. 258). By combining the term overspreading and the phrase "he shall make desolate," Rand concludes that Daniel actually sees the bombing airplane, which has increased man's ability to engage in war and destroy massive territories. To what else can wings refer in the 20th Century except bombing airplanes? It was in that century that the airplane evolved into an effective machine of war. The author, Ford, adds: Rand's commentary was written originally in 1948 and republished in 1963 with numerous amendments to it. This quotation is from the 1963 edition. How did he figure out the point from which "Adam's fall" took place? It presupposes that "Adam's fall" took place in 4000 BC (Ibid; Appendices: "A Chronological Chart of Events"). It appears to support his idea about the 20th Century as stated above. . . . However, it would take him and his 1948 readers 53 years (2001-1948=53) to find out that he was wrong! This next part will sound familiar to most Witnesses: He goes on to conclude that the Soviet Union is Gog and Magog—the Antichrist (Gog) and Beast (Magog). With that in hand, he declares that they will invade Israel sometime before 2001 in fulfillment of Ezekiel 38, 39 (Ibid; pp. 296-312). On p. 310, he specifically says: "At the end of years Soviet Russia will advance with a great army and numerous cavalry [and] establish themselves in Palestine [that is, Israel]. Rand expected that end of years to have occurred before 2001. Beyond the fact that Soviet Russia disappeared back in the 1980s… The book you are quoting from makes a case against this idea. Here's another issue that should sound familiar to Witnesses. It's after a quick discussion of Archbishop Ussher's idea that Adam was created in 4004 BCE, and the idea of developing a timeline off the end of 6,000 years of man's existence on earth: Even then, we're left clueless as to how long it took Adam and Eve to sin against God after their creation and, therefore, precisely when the 6,000-year countdown should have begun. I don’t know if you were around in 1975 when this exact topic was brought up regularly at the meetings. Rand also managed to get the 2,520 years, not from Nebuchadnezzar's dream, but from the handwriting on the wall that Belshazzar witnessed: Look at the words again using that cipher: "A mina, a mina, a shekel, and half a mina." Now what? There are 50 shekels in a mina. There are 20 gerahs (a word not written on the wall) in a shekel. If you use the weight units based on the words, then the phrase can be interpreted: "1,000 [50 x 20], 1,000 [50 x 20], 20 [the gerah], and 500 [25 x 20]." Added together, they total 2,520 —a number significant to Bible students (for example: Daniel's 70th week 7 days 7 x 360 days in a year 2,520 days long). Now, it is stipulated that you must be aware of even more: (a) There is a short-term understanding, and (b) there is also a long-term understanding. In other words, there was, supposedly, a fulfillment for Belshazzar's time, as well as a fulfillment for a later time—essentially, the last days (Ibid.). The author is not agreeing with Rand, but showing that he is grasping as untenable ideas. Then the author goes on to critique Rand's ideas and then gets to the point where he is discussing what is wrong with the section you quoted. He finishes up with an interesting idea: Each word had a particular meaning that was executed that very night. To attempt to apply its meaning to some double, long-term application is adding to God's word (see Deu. 4: I, 2; 12:32 and Prov. 30:5, 6). There is no mention of an application to the "end times." If we (Witnesses) applied this same bit of counsel to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 we wouldn't even be having a discussion of 607, etc. Rand grasps at whatever he can find, and doesn't think it through. He quotes from very old sources, and ignored anything that didn't fit with a preconceived idea. I don't think this is the mark of a historian or even a wannabe historian. It's just another person grasping at any idea, crazy or not, who wants his particular interpretation of Bible prophecy to be right. So where does that leave your claim? That's "zero" so far on your ability to point to "some historians" who believed Nebuchadnezzar's accession year was 603. Still looking for the "some historians" that you mentioned.
  4. I think Eoin has made an excellent conclusion to this matter and I kind of hated to spoil it by agreeing with it. It reminds me of the ultimate conclusion of a discussion of so many of the "immaterial" [vain] material matters that we deal with "under the sun" as discussed in the book of Ecclesiastes: (Ecclesiastes 7:27-29) 27 “See, this is what I found,” says the congregator. “I investigated one thing after another to reach my conclusion, 28 but what I continually sought, I have not found. ... 29 This alone I have found: The true God made mankind upright, but they have sought out many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14) 13 The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole obligation of man. 14 For the true God will judge every deed, including every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad. But it would not be fair to just end it here. The presentation has been too lop-sided. The WTS position has not been presented. Since no one else has really presented it, I will likely post the WTS position next. Perhaps even from the very first time the entire chronology issue was first addressed by the WTS, with a specific discussion of how the 70 years fits in. This will simultaneously present a good idea of the history of the doctrine and how closely we still hold to the same positions and arguments.
  5. Yes, indeed! It's absolutely and definitively not so definitive and absolute. That was the toughest point to grapple with. I know that I personally "kicked against the goads" for a long time before accepting the full implication of what you just said. One of the first talks I remember my father giving in several congregations, was the talk on the Tree Dream Prophecy of Daniel Chapter 4. Since the time I was 5 years old I had always thought that this "absolute date" of 539 BCE was just such a perfect solution that brought Bible prophecy right up into our day. And by the time I was 10 or so, the idea wasn't lost on me that this was also one of the first "sermons" that C.T.Russell had borrowed from Second Adventist literature which he reworked slightly to get himself published in George Storrs' Bible Examiner in 1876. So this idea had a lot of history. And I'd have to agree that the argument is definitely a bit too spirited. But I don't blame Allen Smith for his indignation at the arguments against it, and, of course, I don't blame myself for making the point as best I can, that we (JWs) can't expect to win the argument based on evidence. We either need to avoid trying to prove this topic, or expect to lose the argument if we were to insist that we were "absolutely" right, based on evidence. I also blame neither side for the tone. I think there's an element of "righteous indignation" on both sides. Perhaps it rises to the level of those "strongly entrenched things" that need to be turned over with all the power that can be brought to bear against it. In the case of most Witnesses, the strongly entrenched thing is the "evidence." In the case of some Witnesses, and I'd include myself, the strongly entrenched thing is the Witness tradition of using 607 BCE that appears to go against evidence, but more importantly, appears to go against what Jesus commanded us when he said that the knowledge of the times and seasons does not belong to us. Trying to discover a "chronology" that opens secrets of "eschatology" can turn our worship from spiritual to material. In 1975, you might remember how a lot of JWs started looking at beautiful houses and properties and declaring which ones they wanted after Armageddon. Although this was done with a bit of levity, we even had an elder who would tell householders at their door that he'd like to have their property after Armageddon. He was a "jokester" from Wilmington, NC who could somehow get away with it. Reminded me a bit of JTR. At any rate, if any Witnesses feel that our date-setting, including 607 and 1914, has created a material mindset where a spiritual mindset should be, then I wouldn't blame them for seeing it in about the same light as those who argue strongly for keeping it just because it shows respect for the faithful slave. Either side could easily get to the point of believing that the argument for 607 is a pro-materialistic one and is therefore something like the encroachment of materialistic concerns into the temple that drove Jesus to overturn the tables of the money-changers. Therefore, the brothers who are not in favor of using 607 BCE in the way it has been used, are arguing that it is merely speculation that doesn't provide anything from God in connection with faith. Others see any argument against our use of 607 in this way as giving rise to speculations, etc. You probably know from previous posts that I understand Paul to be saying to Timothy the equivalent of "Don't pay attention to false stories and chronologies because they end up in nothing useful, etc, etc." (The Insight article on Genealogy and Chronology explains that chronology was one of the primary purposes of genealogy, although 1 Tim 1:4 may be a statement about "pedigree" through genealogies, as the Insight book teaches.) *** it-1 p. 907 Genealogy *** ...genealogy was important to chronology... I believe this whole-heartedly. And I think I've admitted fairly clearly that I'm afraid many Witnesses have ended up doing exactly that by considering any of these dates, including 539 BCE, to be in any way, "absolute." Amen. "Fully." "Completely." For EVERY good work.
  6. You are right. It doesn't need to sound so definitive. There is not yet a known person from extra-Biblical historical records or archaeological evidence. And, of course, there may never be such evidence ever found in the present system. There are some reasons that scholars tend to sound more definitive about thinking this "Darius the Mede" is not going to be a known person who went by that title. It's because we know more about this particular time and place in history, more than any other time and place in ancient history. In fact, I believe that there is such an over-abundance of evidence from the time and place, that you would almost guess that Jehovah was trying to protect us from coming up with some conjectured but unsupported dates like 607 BCE for the destruction of Jerusalem. And all these lines of evidence all tend to agree and support each other even though they come from different independent sources. Many of them are actual extant documents from the original time period, not later copies, or written histories from a later time. For this reason, we can pretty much tell that the Medes were no longer a great power from a time very early in the Neo-Babylonian period. They were actually defeated early in the reign of Cyrus (about 550 BCE). So Darius wasn't representing Media as a current empire or power, but was someone representing Persia, but from the Mede's ancestry or lineage. This would explain why he was called in Daniel 9:1 "a descendant of the Medes." You are right, however, it doesn't change the date of Daniel 9:1. Yes, maybe. When Cyrus conquered Babylon, I'd guess that he would have wanted someone he could trust to watch over it for him. An emperor is a King of Kings, and therefore needs "kings" (governors, princes, generals, etc.) under him to handle different portions of the empire. But Cyrus was known for freeing foreign slaves. And foreign captives being held by a people who were no longer in power could quickly become agitated and difficult, clamoring for freedom, and becoming a danger to the peaceful transition of the new state. So why bother to try to hold them? Why take the risk of trouble? Why wait until March/April to make a decision about them if he conquered Babylon in October? It's not like Cyrus hadn't already been ruling for many years. This wasn't really his first year, it was more like his 11th year. He had already been King of Persia, Media and Lydia. It was only counted as his first year in relation to creating a Persian "world" empire by conquering Babylon in 539. He had already been ruling since 530 BCE, so it wasn't like he needed to establish himself before he could make a declaration about the Judean captives in Babylon. So yes, it's very possible that he waited until 538 BCE, and if it was the first month of the year, that would be about 6 months after he conquered Babylon. But it is also possible that when referring to the rulership of Cyrus over Judeans, Daniel would use a common Hebrew method of counting the years, which was to call the first year right from the start. The accession year was sometimes called the first year. But even if he allowed the Jews to return in 538, it doesn't change the fact that the 70 years ended when the Persian ruler conquered Babylon in 539 BCE. (2 Chronicles 36:20, 21) He carried off captive to Babylon those who escaped the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia began to reign, 21 to fulfill Jehovah’s word spoken by Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfill 70 years. Of course, there's another theory. The other idea is that Jeremiah had said that Babylon would be given 70 years of rule over the nations, and this time was obviously up when they were conquered. But the other theory is that this 70 years for Babylon opened up the possibility that Judah would also have 70 years of desolation to pay off its unkept sabbaths. This is closer to the WTS teaching. The WTS downplays the 70 years of Babylonian power over the nations, and focuses these entire 70 years on Judea. The WTS only makes the exception for the case of Tyre who would also be "forgotten" for 70 years. *** ip-1 chap. 19 p. 253 par. 21 Jehovah Profanes the Pride of Tyre *** of Tyre is not subject to Babylon for a full 70 years, since the Babylonian Empire falls in 539 B.C.E. Evidently, the 70 years represents the period of Babylonia’s greatest domination—when the Babylonian royal dynasty boasts of having lifted its throne even above “the stars of God.” (Isaiah 14:13) Different nations come under that domination at different times. But at the end of 70 years, that domination will crumble. This same explanation could also have been used for Judea and Jerusalem, which would have meant that there were 70 years of desolation for Judea, but does not mean that the desolation needed to be "full" for the entire 70 years of Babylon's greatest period of domination. Still it would be true that those 70 years allowed for the time of fulfillment of the time required for Judea to pay off its sabbaths. By interrupting the ownership of land, by removing and exiling the elite and important Jewish people from around Judea, the punishment would have started and that punishment would end in 539. It wouldn't be 70 years for every individual, but the repercussions of the ongoing punishment would be felt across the land for 70 years. Also, there is no real reason why we have to look for a period of "exactly" 70 years. The period of 70 years could just as well represent any period that could be rounded off to 70 years. Another theory is the multiple 70 years periods: Babylon gets 70 years of domination (605 to 539 if possibly rounded) Judea gets 70 years of exiles and captivity (605 to 538 if possibly rounded and allowing for formal decree in 538 and time to begin settling back home in 538) Temple gets 70 years of desolation from 587 to 518, if possibly rounded until the time the building had begun again as Zechariah prophesied. The Greater Temple gets 70 "weeks" of years from the time of the restoration of the completed physical temple is complete until the time that Jesus fulfills the Greater Temple in the final week of years ("7 years" or "2,520 days") between 29 CE and 33 CE and 36 CE. (Daniel 9:16, 17) And now listen, O our God, to the prayer of your servant and to his entreaties, and cause your face to shine upon your sanctuary that is desolate, for your own sake, O Jehovah. I'm not sure why this seems important that the restoration was future. In every case the restoration would always be future -- some time after the 70 years for Babylon had already ended. Apparently, Daniel was asking specifically about the sanctuary. This may have been very appropriate for him, now that his own personal captivity in Babylon had approached 67 years and he himself would evidently not be going back to Judea with the rest of them, likely already about 90 years old by then, if secular chronology is correct. (110 in the WTS schema.) He was concerned for pure worship to be restored. For him there might not even be an end of the 70 years in his own lifetime. The answer he gets about Jeremiah is basically that there would NOT be 70 years until the sanctuary was truly restored, but 70 x 7 years. In other words, for himself, he would not be able to take a literal view of Jeremiah's prophecy, but Daniel must, as a prophet, see into the future, until the "end" when the spiritual sanctuary is restored about 490 years from then -- and even this period might be a rounded off period. (Or it might refer to something we don't yet know about.)
  7. We used to draw them very, very white. I remember when a very handsome white brother with "Christopher Reeves" (Superman) like features came to Bethel in 1977, and the head of the Art Dept asked if we thought we could get him to be the new "model" for Jesus. I admit that it never occurred to me that he would be wrong for the part. A previous white brother who had been used as the model had been from our home congregation back in the mid 1960's, up until about 1968. He's on the Mount of Olives teaching the disciples on a calendar, and appeared in another calendar and a couple of Watchtower covers. The brother who had been the "Superman" model was changed to someone who actually has some slightly mideastern features, but it is definitely a compromise. (The "Be My Follower" cover.) If you looked without knowing the changes over the years, you'd say he was still white, perhaps Italian. But if you were even more used to the older models, you'd notice that there has been a purposeful transition.
  8. An accession year is merely the year that was already named for the predecessor as of the new year (Nisannu). So aren't these ideas conflicting when you indicate that Neb might not have had an accession year and that this would make his accession year 603 BCE. Also when you say "603 BC as some historians attest to" is this for real? Can you name some historians that attest to this date as an accession year? If you are serious here, then I would be happy to learn something else about the time period. But I've also learned not to be surprised when you make claims that you won't even try to back up with evidence. Anyway, I couldn't find any, but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. (For now.) You also got something else wrong here. I don't know which secular historians you are relying on to claim that it took him an estimated 2.5 months to get back, but even if he got back by January/February of 604, this is still the same "605" accession year that goes from Nisannu 1, 605 to Addaru 30, 604 because they ran their year count from Spring to Spring. The Months of the Babylonian Calendar 1. Nisannu 30 7. Tashritu 30 2. Aiyaru 29 8. Arakhsamna 29 3. Simannu 30 9. Kislimu 30 4. Du'uzu 29 10. D.abitu 29 5. Abu 30 11. Sabad.u 30 6. Ululu I 29 12. Addaru I 29 6. Ululu II 29 12. Addaru II 30
  9. This is funny. I edited my post before reading your posts. I went to bed around 3 am and kept thinking that this idea was just too much of a stretch. In fact, I kept all the links open so that I could check out the possibility more carefully when I got up this morning. I noticed the recent Addaru II and then read the footnotes to the JStor paper (A. Goetze) and P&D itself more carefully. So I edited my post down to almost nothing about the intercalaries. When I saw your post, I realized that I had already removed the lines you critiqued. Sorry to have put you to the trouble over nothing. In fact, this whole subject of a horse's stamina and speed seems to be trouble over nothing. My original point was only going to be that even if we think it really should have reasonably taken a week or two longer, this isn't enough of a difference for us to claim it was impossible, and that it isn't enough of a difference to change his accession year. We weren't there. We don't know what they knew. We're the ones guessing. Also, to me it really does seem exaggerated by a couple of weeks (my own conjecture). So I give credit to Allen for pointing out a real question that has some evidence and rationale behind it. I hadn't read anything on this subject for decades, it seems, but I do remember wondering if the three week difference between the death of Nebuchadnezzar's father and the trip back, then were BOTH directions supposed to have taken place during that same 3 week period? This is why, even under the best of circumstances, I would agree with the need for a couple more weeks. If Neb was stationed closer to Carchemish, then Neb could have settled those affairs with the enemies and prisoners and treasure from there, and driven straight home, right? From Carchemish there is no water problem and the roads were likely completely under his control. If Berossus knew that he cut across the desert from farther south, then there must have been some routes that I can't find any history on (yet). Perhaps "desert" could be a word that implies only that it's off the usual inhabited routes wherever he could find shortcuts. Without any evidence I preferred to think that this was a north-easterly shortcut from farther south, just to reach a point on the river routes farther north. Thanks for the info on the horses.
  10. I just flew about 10 different routes with a flight simulator with full 3-D photographic terrain mapping from Judea to Carchemish and Carchemish to "Baghdad" and flew as low as I could to the ground to get a sense of the actual mountains and problem areas. If his travel was only from Carchemish to Babylon then I found several routes that were perfectly flat, and no more than 590 to 650 miles. If the early trade routes kept to some of these same flat areas, then the mountains were not a problem. I also tried a few routes from Judea and straight across the desert. You can avoid the mountains easily enough, but I can't believe he would cut across so straight through the dryness of the Syrian Desert, sand, etc. (Water is the heaviest burden to carry. And I've also done horseback riding across sand. It's slow and tiring.) [Edited to add that, scouts who knew the area would likely have known additional routes and shortcuts, so that even if the trip was difficult to manage as claimed, we can't say it wasn't possible. I also checked the possibility that Ululu II was meant instead of Ululu I, but Parker & Dubberstein and the additional 3,500 "Yale" documents only support a second Ululu in Nabopolassars's 19th and Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd year.] Interesting that Berossus adds details about Nebuchadnezzar taking some time to settle some affairs with the enemies and manage the separate escort of some prisoners from Judea and elsewhere -- likely including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who would have arrived during 605 BCE. So I had the idea he didn't travel straight back from Carchemish, but continued to tramp around, perhaps even in Hatti-Land again, to take care of some necessary business, although he would have done this quickly. I had the feeling that if the Babylonian Chronicles were inaccurate, it was only to the extent that they exaggerated the speed at which he had been able to return by a week or two. Typical commentaries [2 Kings 24 and 25], like the following from "Enduring Word" admit that this seems to be an unusually speedy return by Nebuchadnezzar: i. Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem because the Pharaoh of Egypt invaded Babylon. In response the young prince Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians at Charchemish, and then he pursued their fleeing army all the way down to the Sinai. Along the way (or on the way back), he subdued Jerusalem, who had been loyal to the Pharaoh of Egypt. ii. This happened in 605 b.c. and it was the first (but not the last) encounter between Nebuchadnezzar and Jehoiakim. There would be two later invasions (597 and 587 b.c.). iii. This specific attack is documented by the Babylonian Chronicles, a collection of tablets discovered as early as 1887, held in the British Museum. In them, Nebuchadnezzar’s 605 b.c. presence in Judah is documented and clarified. When the Babylonian chronicles were finally published in 1956, they gave us first-rate, detailed political and military information about the first 10 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. L.W. King prepared these tablets in 1919; he then died, and they were neglected for four decades. iv. Excavations also document the victory of Nebuchadnezzar over the Egyptians at Carchemish in May or June of 605 b.c. Archaeologists found evidences of battle, vast quantities of arrowheads, layers of ash, and a shield of a Greek mercenary fighting for the Egyptians. v. This campaign of Nebuchadnezzar was interrupted suddenly when he heard of his father’s death and raced back to Babylon to secure his succession to the throne. He traveled about 500 miles in two weeks – remarkable speed for travel in that day. Nebuchadnezzar only had the time to take a few choice captives (such as Daniel), a few treasures and a promise of submission from Jehoiakim. Allen, you may have a point about the speed. It still seems possible when looking at numbers for the most ideal of circumstances, but I also believe there is a possibility that it would have taken at least a week or so longer. But I'm guessing. I don't have the same concerns about enemies along the way. If they took a sparser, more direct route, they would encounter no forces, and if they took the same route back by which they had marched in the first place, then any enemies were likely already subdued along that route. And we know from other records about ancient battles that guards and posts and forts would be set up along those routes for future passage, and messages/messengers from back at the capital. I assumed the possibility of fresh horses, and therefore higher speeds, based on this idea. No matter what, though, I can't see that this has any bearing on his accession year. In fact, the Chronicle mentions specifically that he went back to Hatti-land in the accession year, and that he stayed until Sabatu. This makes sense in the context of Ululu being the 6th month of the year and Sabatu being the 11th month. But it also fits travel times of much less than the 2.5 months each way that you are talking about. If travel was more likely about a month, which fits all the know ideas about the trade routes and the speed of travel, then the Chronicle makes sense.
  11. Wouldn't be surprised if he was acclaimed and declared to be on "the royal throne of Babylon" as soon as he reached friendly territory in his father's Babylonian "empire." It also wouldn't surprise me if he was declared king as of the first of the month Ulul 1 (as of the new moon) even if it was actually some time later in the month. Wouldn't be surprised if it was an exaggeration to make it look like he got back even faster than he did. So yes it COULD even be a mistake. Of course, this wouldn't change a thing about his accession year. No matter what, his accession year would be the label for the remainder of the year that was already named for his father in the calendar: "Nabopolassar 21st." One other thing to consider however is your expression "unless Neb was killing horses along the way." We shouldn't forget that this is exactly what he would have done. An empire without a declared ruler was in danger of a coup or a usurper, and this happened to the Assyrians before them, and the Persians after them. So, I can't imagine Nebuchadnezzar doing anything other than running horses nearly to death from every one of his army's "posts" along the way. Horses can be pushed to travel 100 miles a day, and he would likely have wanted to move at night, too. It's currently about 550 miles from Baghdad to Jerusalem which is only 18 hours away at 30 miles an hour. ("Pony Express" speeds over shorter distances.) But along the most likely trade routes, from somewhere in "Hatti" to one of the major palaces or temples his father had built would likely be closer to 1,000 miles. Also, horses pulling a war chariot with guards would likely slow down to an average speed of 15 mph by day through 15 hours of daylight in September. (He could also have moved 5 to 10 mph by night, which I won't include.) So that's 1000 miles divided by 15 mph, which equals 66.666 hours. If he only traveled during the daylight that's 4.5 days. Considering that an empire was at risk, we should have expected him to do everything to get there as fast as possible. But considering the possible problems of weather, the terrain, the need to carry several elite guards, some equipment, up to a week's worth of food and water, etc., we could expect that he averaged only 7.5 mph and it therefore could have taken 9 days. The tablet says it was about 22/23 days. That's more than enough time for a messenger to get to him from the Babylonian palace AND for Nebuchadnezzar to get back and still have several days to spare! If he was in enough of a hurry to travel at night (even if more slowly) he could shave off another day or two from the travel time. I would have expected even faster. So I don't know why you are so anxious to rely on secular historians who are making guesses of 2.5 months.
  12. You apparently have very little interest in responding to facts and evidence. The only bits of evidence you have tried to include in your posts are those that focus on the one-year and two-year differences among archaeologists, especially those from the 1800's. The one-year+ differences that are seen in more modern scholarship on the subject can be explained almost 100% of the time with the list of reasons I gave in a previous post. These differences have nothing to do with confusion and contradictions among the archaeologists. In the portions of your response I just quoted above, I notice that when you realize that you have no answer you will invariably resort to phrases like, "Just like Carl Olof Jonsson" and "the foolishness of the Doug Masons and Carl Olof Jonssons of this world" or mentioning "Raymond Franz." Yes, it's true that all these people are disfellowshipped, so you do have the ultimate, ready-made ad hominem attack at your disposal. People, like COJ, who were disfellowshipped for "apostasy" are our equivalent, basically, of a "Hitler." You remind me of me when I was 7 years old. We moved from California to Missouri and my brother and I were in a country school where the kids were angry at our religion and the fact that we did not salute the flag, because they also knew from their parents that we didn't fight in the war against Hitler. How could we not want to defend our country? But this particular verbal attack died down when their statements were always met by giving them a witness, especially when they found out that JWs stood up to Hitler and their religion didn't. So they decided to change their tactic to making fun of my lack of a full earlobe. My ears only have a partial lobe, since the lower end of the lobe attaches to the ear with only a small lobe, instead of the usual one. So, I came up with the "brilliant idea" of just matter-of-factly telling them, "Oh, I see the difference; you have the same kind of earlobe that Hitler had." They would deny it, and I would show them the picture of Hitler from the encyclopedia on the back shelf of our school-room. It happened about 4 times that same first year then, when I was in second grade. The 4th time, I went to show my 2nd grade colleague, and lo and behold, . . . it wasn't there any more. Someone had ripped out his picture. I lost my fallacy argument due to lack of evidence. For future reference, I looked up Mussolini but it turned out his picture had almost exactly the same kind of earlobes that I have. But I found my new evidence in a picture of Stalin! Close enough. But then I turned 8, and didn't care any more that I had Mussolini's ears. The point is. . . . Well, there isn't much of a point, except that I understand exactly why you need to pivot towards mentioning our most "evil and dangerous" enemies. Yikes! But then you revealed just how childish this type of argument really is. You made a curious mistake. You accidentally reminded everyone that you are continuing to point out that 587 and 586 are the beliefs of "enemies" and 607 BCE is somehow more like a 'teaching from God.' But then you said the following, which is an amazing admission, when you think about it. You said: "Historians really don’t give a hoot one way or another about it." Thanks for reminding me. It's really one of the most crushing bits of evidence that exposes the fallacy of your entire childish tactic. The reason is simple. You are right that historians really don't give a hoot one way or another about it and that is simply another way of saying that their conclusions are are not biased one way or another. Hmmm. So why do almost 100% of all historians and archaeologists of the Neo-Babylonian period, whether they be Jewish, Catholic, Atheist, Indian, Russian, Vegan or Japanese -- why do they all indicate that 607 is an impossible date for the destruction of Jerusalem, based on the evidence? Why do almost 100% of the same Neo-Babylonian specialists, date the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 or 586 BCE? Interesting that you try to use the same bit of logic about the thousands of tablets that you wish I was exaggerating and blustering about. These are not from a single place that may have had a bias one way or another, they are simply thousands of records dealing with hundreds of different people that just happened to have a date on them: the year of the current king of Babylon. So you are right, these are not the "official evidence from any oficial government of antiquities." So isn't it curious that from all these different sources all give us evidence for the same chronology, whether from private sources and business that went on with temples and traders and banks and land organizers, "realtors," etc. Anyway, thanks for making that point for me. It's a good one. Too bad it just continues to demolish your argument, though.
  13. Ah! Maybe you do understand me after all. The WTS hold 607 as indisputable, but all variables need to be considered. Amazing! That's a perfect example of the problem with the WTS chronology. It always surprises me that some of us have become so anxious to defend the WTS that we are ready to throw out the Bible to do it. Why not defend the WTS wherever possible, but not when it means grasping at straws, and especially not when it means that we have to trample on God's word? You use the example of the Egibi tablets. I believe there are now about 3,000 unique tablets in this collection, not counting the fact that there are even more pieces and fragments, not counted as separate tablets. [see T.G.Pinches translation of "Egibi Tablets" http://www.brainfly.net/html/books/rop0176.pdf ] [also see, Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology https://books.google.com/books?id=s3cYAQAAIAAJ ] [also see, http://www.academia.edu/1221586/_2007_The_Egibi_Family ] Without a reference to exactly what is on the original Egibi tablets in question (the ones that include information to independently recreate a Neo-Babylonian king list), you correctly point out that the modern, 19th-century translator has marked 'Nebuchadnezzar the Great' as "Nebuchadnezzar III" instead of "Nebuchadnezzar II." This supposedly makes it possible that we don't know who this particular "King Nebuchadnezzar the Great" is. Let's see if there is even the remotest element of truth to that claim. Without even counting the thousands of contract tablets or the thousands of Egibi tablets, archaeologists had already come to a consensus that the most accurate version of the king list that would fit the known evidence at the time must look like this: Nabopolassar 21 years (625 - 605 BCE) Nebuchadnezzar 43 years (604 - 562 BCE) Awel-Marduk 2 years (561 - 560 BCE) Neriglissar 4 years (559 - 556 BCE) Labashi-Marduk 2-3 months ( 556 BCE) Nabonidus 17 years (555 - 539 BCE) This is taken from several sources, but overall, it gives precedence to the very probable accuracy of what has been called "Ptolemy's Canon" which provides this same information. The dates in the third column are not part of the so-called Canon, although if any single date in that entire 85 year period that can be confirmed by an astronomical sighting, it would then produce such dates for the entire period. (And, as you know, and as the WTS readily admits, there are dozens of such astronomical sightings firmly linked to specific years in this date range.) And then we have the consensus created initially from what was already in Doughterty's time (1920's) 2,000 dated tablets, this could have included many of the Egibi tablets, but the entire table below could be confirmed as shown, without them. Since Dougherty's time, thousands more have been discovered and they add to the same evidence, even more firmly. Nabopolassar 21 years (626/5 - 605 BCE) Nebuchadnezzar 43 years (605 - 562 BCE) Awel-Marduk 2 years (562 - 560 BCE) Neriglissar 4 years (560 - 556 BCE) Labashi-Marduk a few months ( 556 BCE) Nabonidus 17 years (556 - 539 BCE) Again, I'll use Doughterty's original dates in the third column, where he includes those remaining months of each accession year which we should expect NOT to be included in the "Royal Canon" because that year was already named for the previous king who was already ruling from beginning of each of those same years, which would later become the accession year of the next king. That was the whole reason to use accession years. We find that it is exactly as we would expect The accession year system allowed the simplicity of working only with true regnal years for counting. They provided: much more accuracy, less confusion and redundancy easier math for bankers easier counting of past years for court historians and chroniclers would allow for more precise astronomical records, that could even result in the ability to "predict" lunar eclipses, use the 18-year Saros cycles, etc. So most of these one year differences which you have utilized to create uncertainty and doubt, are exactly as we would expect them if they were to be used for accurate historical calendars. You can see they are therefore both correct in the two tables above. So now we add the evidence from the Egibi tablets, where there are enough records to recreate the entire lengths rule for most of the kings over a 164 year perod. Here are the ones that are spelled out in the translation work by Pinches. The author is aware back in the 1800's that the years given are estimates, so I won't try to fix them here. (He wrote: "Future researchers and discoveries will doubtless make alterations to the chronology of this period.") Besides, when you weave the additional information about the lengths of the offices held by the heads of this particular Egibi Realtor/Financial Firm, you actually get the exact same dates supported by the Royal Canon ("Ptolemy"), the Uruk king list, the Addad-guppi stele, the thousands of additional contract tablets, and the astronomical diaries. The "kings" of the house of Egibi, actually produces a perfect double-check against the official king list, and merges with it and confirms it perfectly. A ten-fold cord cannot easily be broken. Nebuchadnezzar III (The Great) 43 years 604 Awel-Marduk 2 years 561 Neriglissar 4 years 558 Nabonidus 17 years 554 Cyrus 9 years 537 Cambyses 8 years 528 Bardes (Bardiya) 1 year 520 Nebuchadnezzar IV (pretender) 1-2 year 519 Cambyses (restored) (11th) 518 Darius 1 year 517 But here's the most important point. The mistake that accidentally marks Nebuchadnezzar III instead of Nebuchadnezzar II (The Great) is not even in the tablets. Nebuchadnezzar III was a Babylonian nationalist who tried to reinstate the line of Nabonidus near the end of the life of Cambyses. Bardes himself was also a more successful usurper near the end of the life of Cambyses. Nebuchadnezzar IV might be given 2 years here, when he actually followed in the year after Nebuchadnezzar III, who had tried to do the same thing in the prior year. Only the two of them together covered a two-year period, so the mistake is easy to understand. Ultimately, Darius was able to usurp the throne back and keep full Persian control. (This is similar to what happened in the same area [Iraq] in modern times, when coalitions of invading soldiers left the country and the previous ruling political party has tried to regain legitimacy.) But the grasping at straws is even more apparent when you realize that the Bible already tells you which king reigned just prior to Awel-Marduk. Obviously it was Nebuchadnezzar, and the Bible also indicates a reign of about 43 years for Nebuchadnezzar. So, no, it is clearly not an indication that Nabopolassar was confused with Nebuchadnezzar II (or vice versa). You said: "or could it be that these business contracts were based on the assumption that NABOPOLASSAR, was mistaken for NEBUCHADNEZZAR II." The Bible aleady clears up exactly who it is: (2 Kings 24:8-10) 8 Je·hoiʹa·chin was 18 years old when he became king, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Ne·hushʹta the daughter of El·naʹthan of Jerusalem. 9 He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, according to all that his father had done. 10 During that time the servants of King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. (2 Kings 24:12) 12 King Je·hoiʹa·chin of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, along with his mother, his servants, his princes, and his court officials; and the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign. (Jeremiah 52:28, 29) 28 These are the people whom Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar took into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews. 29 In the 18th year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, 832 people were taken from Jerusalem. (2 Kings 25:8, 9) 8 In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, that is, in the 19th year of King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar the king of Babylon, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard, the servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He burned down the house of Jehovah, the king’s house. . . (2 Kings 25:27) 27 And in the 37th year of the exile of King Je·hoiʹa·chin of Judah, in the 12th month, on the 27th day of the month, King Eʹvil-merʹo·dach [Awul-Marduk] of Babylon, in the year he became king, released King Je·hoiʹa·chin of Judah from prison. Clearly the siege was the one in the 7th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar (8th including accession year). The best date that fits all the evidence is 597 BCE. We can check that, knowing that the 37th year would be 36 years after the 1st year. Therefore, 597-36 = 561 BCE. So the chronology that the Bible gives about the 37th year of the exile of Jehoiachin, in the year that Awul-Marduk became king would be about 561 BCE. You'll notice from the tables above that this is the same date that all the archaeological and historical evidence points to. So you noticed that, instead of a mistake made in antiquity, you have CORRECT information from one source (Egibi tablet in this case) with the knowledge that its correctness is supported by literally hundreds of additional sources (hundreds of dated business tablets and a few astronomically dated tablets) and that it also just happens to coincide with supporting information from the Bible itself. All these sources -- including the Bible -- support each other in correctly identifying who this Nebuchadnezzar "III" might be. Yet you think it's appropriate to ask, under these circumstances, if anyone can be 100% sure that maybe Nabopolassar was mistaken for Nebuchadnezzar II. It was such a stretch that you were willing to ignore Biblical information supporting the archaeoloigical evidence.
  14. I pointed out where you were wrong, and rather than address the problem with your argument, you have constantly "pivoted" and changed the subject. So, naturally I have to assume that you realize there is no answer that you can give. It doesn't matter that you continue to claim that everyone else is wrong. The point is that if you can't respond to the argument, then as far as I can tell, you have already conceded that you were wrong, and we can move on to the next point. The fact that you don't admit your inability to respond is irrelevant. I'm not saying it's irrelevant to everyone. Perhaps you yourself are one of those persons who believes that if you ignore a problem and just change the subject to bring up another point, that this is a way of "winning an argument." There might even be readers of this topic on this forum who get that impression. You say I have related a strong opposition to 607 BCE. That's true, in a way. Because all the evidence points away from 607 and towards 587 or 586. But your response here, and many others, shows that you haven't really understood my point. I hate to do this, but it's obvious I need to try to explain again, just in case you really are confused about it and it somehow makes you think I'm changing tactics. So here goes: -------------------- In fact, I believe very strongly in 607 BCE. I believe it's a true part of the history that can help us understand what Jeremiah meant he speaks of "70 years for Babylon" to be served by the nations that they would rule over. But is it really all that important to know that one of those 70 years was also known in secular terms, as 607 BCE? Probably not. Yet it's very interesting to learn about it, and to see just how much evidence there is that points to 607 BCE as a part of those 70 years, because it helps us understand that the Bible contains real historical scenarios, and that Jehovah's purpose could be seen to work out through (because of and in spite of) terrible tragedies. Although Nebuchadnezzar was only a prince in 607 BCE and hadn't started his first regnal year, or even his accession year, he was very likely already making a name for himself. This is based on the fact that Babylon was quick to fill the power vacuum after the last Assyrian king in 609 BCE and Nebuchadnezzar was already known as a conquering commander in his father's Babylonian army by the time of the battle of Charchemish in 605 BCE. We know that Jeremiah was a contemporary of this situation going on in a "world" that was almost completely overrun by sin against Jehovah by his own people, and by violent and seemingly uncontrollable empires in what was likely the most volatile place in the world at that time. Israel and Judah were always at the conjunction of violent, pagan empires. Yet we have evidence from archaeology dated to the period between about 609 and 539 BCE that confirms the existence of some of the actual people mentioned in Jeremiah, including several events mentioned in Jeremiah. We have Jeremiah prophesying that Babylon would only get 70 years of rule. This type of foreknowledge from Jehovah was the same lesson of Daniel 4: that Jehovah can raise up a kingdom and bring down a kingdom, that to the one whom he wants, he gives it. Jehovah was able to utilize what only seemed uncontrollable. In fact if we were de-emphasize the specific dates, this is basically the same message that the Watch Tower publications give. So I have no qualms of conscience in tying together what Jeremiah said about Babylon, the "tree dream" of Daniel 4, the foretold punishment on Jerusalem from Leviticus, the tie-ins from Isaiah and Ezekiel, and Ezra, Zechariah, etc. I would even tie in the fact that Jehovah was able to use Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, and later Rome itself, as "superior authorities" appointed to accomplish his will. The smaller disasters and then the ultimate disaster that befell the entire Jewish system of things, and the Messianic kingly line appeared to be the end for the Jews in a similar way. But that didn't stop Jehovah's purpose to set a king from the line of David back on the throne of the Messianic kingdom. These things also befell Israel as lessons for us today as we also await a restoration of Israel in a spiritual sense -- the New Jerusalem bringing all the benefits, just as originally intended, to all the earth. Now, I know you don't want a lesson in the spiritual treasures that we can take from the Bible -- certainly not from me, anyway. But I mention them to show that we actually appreciate all that we can learn about this historical time period, and I would certainly want to know that the evidence I am claiming to teach others about is correct. I take it as a serious obligation as I've explained to you and others elsewhere. I also wanted you to know that I am not really concerned about anyone who simply wishes to believe that Jerusalem was destroyed on that date. Obviously, this is already believed by millions in exactly this way because of the fact that the Watch Tower publications claim the chronology proposed in the publications is exactly right on this subject, and that there are currently no alternative dates for that event that we can accept. As far as I know, everyone involved in producing these publications today is very sincere about the truth of these dates, even 607 BCE. If someone claims to be right, and we trust them, and we have no specific reason to study it ourselves, then we are free to accept it, and I have no interest in trying to change their minds. All of us have every right to accept things without question if we wish, and we have every right to ignore questions if they come up, or simply rely on previously written material in the WTS publications alone if we wish. But for those of us who use discussion forums like this one, we are sometimes going to be subjected to questions like the one that "Jay Witness" asked at the beginning of this topic. For that reason, I believe we should respond as honestly as we can. I don't think that such questions should be censored or censured. I think we should be willing to deal with any and all evidence that supports our teachings as well as any and all evidence that does not support it. Also, for those of us who have had Bible studies with persons who ask us personally if we are sure about these dates, what should our response be? Should we be dishonest and say that we are absolutely sure, if we are not? Should we admit that we are not absolutely as sure as the WTS publications suggest that we should be? Should we immediately hand over those Bible Studies to someone else? Should we admit to the elders that we have seen evidence that makes us unsure and turn ourselves in for "apostasy"? Is it really "apostasy" when someone runs across convincing evidence that goes against what we were trying to prove when we began our study of a subject. I know this appears to belabor a point I brought up before, but what would you have done if the following happened? Let's say, that in early 1962, the Watchtower was still teaching that the "superior authorities" of Romans 13:1,2 were Jehovah and Jesus Christ. The WTS had previously taught that they were the "civil, governmental authorities" but in 1929, Brother Rutherford had decided to change it so that it could only mean Jesus and Jehovah, and NOT the civil authorities. Not only that, but over the years between 1929 and 1962, this change to "Jehovah and Jesus" was given a lot of importance. It even became explained as the actual fulfillment of at least one specific Bible prophecies. In other words, changing to an explanation that turned out later to be wrong was considered for many years to be a specific fulfillment of prophecy that Jehovah had inspired Bible writers to foretell. (When the explanation was changed back in 1962, then the explanation for these prophecies had to be changed even though this was a bit embarrassing, and we didn't have new explanations for the fulfillments of those prophecies yet.) Everything I just said in the last paragraph really happened. But now, here comes some conjecture. Let's say that you were asked to go through files of Rutherford's personal correspondence to produce a chapter in a historical work on JWs that would include information on Rutherford. Again, this is just conjecture and I'm definitely not saying that anything like this ever actually happened. But let's just say that Brother FW Franz had written a letter to Rutherford for clarification because he (Franz) says that all commentaries disagree with the new explanation, that it should be changed back based on the Greek, based on context, based on parallel verses, etc. Let's also conjecture that Rutherford kept a copy of his response to FW Franz that admits that he (Rutherford) realized it was wrong after a second thought, but that it was not a good time to change it back because too much importance had been made of the new explanation: it was already incorporated into one of the Kingdom Songs, it was incorporated into a prophetic explanation, it helped the publishers prioritize obeying God as ruler rather than men during times of persecution, and maybe one other point. But let's say this letter, or something very much like it, had been found, not in more recent years, but way back in 1960 when we still had the wrong teaching. If you were the one who found it, would you say something to one of your Bible studies? Or to a friend in your congregation? Or even a fellow "elder" in the congregation? ("Elders" were called the "congregation servant" and assistant servants in those days.) I'm guessing that you would know better than to handle it this way. You would probably want to bring it to the attention of F.W.Franz himself to see what had become of this conversation. You would assume that you were missing some part of this correspondence, and that there was a good explanation. But what if Brother Franz just said he always thought he would get to that, but didn't want to do anything about that right now, but maybe in a couple of years. But now wasn't a good time. You probably know that questions did come in about this explanation of the "superior authorities" and that when it was changed in 1962, we even revised the 1950 songbook for that one song. And we officially changed the explanation of one of the prophecies that had supposedly been fulfilled by it. But what if another couple years went by and nothing had changed? Would you feel any obligation to tell anyone? If you waited 20 years and it bothered your conscience, would you still say nothing. Would it matter? To me, it wouldn't matter too much, because I have no proof that Romans 13 must mean one thing and not another. There are already other scriptures that say we should obey God as ruler rather than men, and others that say to pay back Caesar's things to Caesar. Therefore, there is no basic truth at stake. I'd think I'd be willing to wait, and then maybe, perhaps anonymously, let an appropriate committee or member of the Governing Body know what I had seen 20 years earlier. If Jehovah hadn't seen it necessary to effect a change, who was I to try? Still, at some point I should probably discharge my obligation. What would change my timeline completely, however, is if someone asked me what I knew about such a letter. Of if a Bible Study asked me what I personally thought about the meaning of Romans 13:1-2. I wouldn't be dogmatic or adamant about my own view, but I might be willing to discuss whatever evidence I had seen in the letter if the circumstances seemed appropriate. ---------------- Back to 607 BCE. For me personally, I see similarities to this conjectural letter that could have cleared up a few problems of doctrine surrounding the idea of "superior authorities." It would bother me if I knew that such questions had come up before and that brothers I knew personally had been trying to give convincing evidence, but just couldn't honestly do it. I could be silent for 15 or 20 years, but sooner or later I think the time would come to speak up.
  15. Allen Smith: I believe I pointed that out. You did? Where did you ever point out that all the evidence points to the 587 and 586 dates, and all of it points away from the 607 BCE date. If a person is going to be disingenuous in a discussion on this subject, it must be very tempting to pretend to have found a big problem by pointing out the one-year difference between 587 BCE and 586 BCE. You can see from previous comments that it was easy to anticipate that you would likely do this, too. But the Watchtower already pointed out the reason for that difference. Are you really saying that you disagree with the Watchtower on this? Remember, the Watch Tower publications have said: *** g72 5/8 p. 28 When Did Babylon Desolate Jerusalem? *** Jerusalem’s desolation in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year (nineteenth year if counting from his “accession year”) would fall in 586 B.C.E *** kc p. 186 Appendix to Chapter 14 *** [1981] The Bible reports that the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in his 18th regnal year (19th when accession year is included). (Jeremiah 52:5, 12, 13, 29) Thus if one accepted the above Neo-Babylonian chronology, the desolation of Jerusalem would have been in the year 587/6 B.C.E. *** w11 11/1 p. 25 When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part Two *** Scholars say that all these positions occurred in 568/567 B.C.E., which would make the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar II, when he destroyed Jerusalem, 587 B.C.E. I'm sure you picked up on the mistake in the above quotes, but I'm not worried about that. The problem here isn't the secular evidence. It's how you understand the Biblical evidence. The Bible says Jerusalem was destroyed in his 18th year and then it says in his 19th year. (Jeremiah 32:1, 2) 32 The word that came to Jeremiah from Jehovah in the 10th year of King Zed·e·kiʹah of Judah, that is, the 18th year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar. 2 At that time the armies of the king of Babylon were besieging Jerusalem. . . (Jeremiah 52:12-14) 12 In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that is, in the 19th year of King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar the king of Babylon, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard, who was an attendant of the king of Babylon, came into Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the house of Jehovah.  Do you accept that one verse in Jeremiah is true and one verse in Jeremiah is false, or do you accept the Watchtower's explanation that one refers to the regnal year, and one includes the accession year? If you do accept the Watchtower's explanation, why do you continue to make a big deal out of the fact that some historians or scholars date it as 605-18=587 and some date it as 605-19=586? This is not a secular problem, because the year of Jerusalem's destruction isn't mentioned in any known Babylonian chronicles. Some of the secular historians evidently prefer to see the 19th year of Jeremiah 52 as a 19th regnal year, ignoring the reference in Jeremiah 32. This is a serious question that I hope you won't evade. Your argument appears to be setting up a foundation for a different method of reaching 607 BCE. Perhaps you are not trying to use 607 BCE as the date for the destruction of Jerusalem, but would still use 607 as the beginning of the 70 years. You might have noticed several months ago over on jw-archive, in a similar conversation, that I never had a problem with this reasoning: 607 to 537 is about as good as 609 to 539, or 608 to 538. The only point of difference is that the 70 years starts with the hegemony of Babylon, just like Jeremiah said it would, rather than the specific removal of the last King on the throne at Jerusalem in 587 or 586 BCE. You keep hinting at your disagreements with the Watchtower's method of reaching 607 BCE, but you haven't told us why and how you disagree with the Watchtower. I think you are saying you aren't ready to tell anyone until you get a proofreader and editor. But in the meantime, it's as if you are just playing a game that relies on some obfuscation and vague attacks on people who present standard forms of archaeological evidence. You don't even say what they have done wrong in their presentations, except to agree that they have gotten better over the years as more evidence comes in to strengthen their arguments. I don't see how that helps your position.
  16. I don't know if this happens to others, but if I try to go to "Page 2" of a topic/question that has 26+ answers, I can't just click the "Page 2" or ">>" links. The page will just hang. Yet if someone else has responded to a particular post, I can reach that post on Page 2 through the Notifications.

    I find that whether I have the posts sorted by either "Rating" or Date" that the page just "hangs" with a Loading... message on the page.

    I also found that I could swap the order of the variables/parameters in the query, however, and it would come right up.


    The above link works just fine, but you have to "hack" it manually. If I use the version of the link on the page, it will come up as


    Or without the sortby parameter if I chose "Rating" instead of "Date."


    1. The Librarian

      The Librarian

      I sent in a support request to the IT department.

  17. I don't rely on 587 BCE for anything. For all I know it could have been 586 BCE, or it's even possible -- but not based on any evidence -- that the whole thing is off by 20 years. I don't rely on it for anything, because I trust the scriptures that we should not rely on chronology for anything. If 607 BCE were correct, that would make 539 BCE incorrect, so it doesn't seem to fix anything for us anyway. But even if 607 BCE were correct-- even though there is no evidence for it, and even though there is overwhelming evidence against it -- I can't see how it should make any difference to any of us who put a higher priority on Jesus' words about the "times and the seasons." It does not belong to us to know anything about the times and seasons as they relate to the last days, or the Messianic kingdom. (Acts 1:7,8) That part is pretty clear to all of us, I think. So I can't help but ask when this Biblical counsel changed? At what point would we stop being discreet and stop following the counsel? It seems we are now being presumptuous to begin claiming that we do know about the times and seasons? To me it has long seemed disrespectful to Jehovah. But again, that's just my own conscience. I'm not afraid to make a defense for my faith, but I'm not telling other people they need to agree. You are right that even some of the best scholars on this subject have adjusted their dates by about a year for the reigns of some of the Neo-Babylonian kings. This did not happen in 2011, but much closer to 100 years ago. But there are also a few interpretation issues, and errors made by those who looked at the first tablets, and these errors are still being discovered due to the fact that many more people have access to the original tablets, good photographs of them, and a good knowledge of the language. The language issues become slightly clearer all the time with more and more tablets available for translation. (The same thing happens with Bible manuscripts.) But the thing that is most devastating to those who hope to create uncertainty and doubt by pointing out that scholarship has been "riddled with flaws" on the subject, is the fact that everything discovered over the last 140 years or so continues to strengthen the knowledge of the Neo-Babylonian timeline, not weaken it. It is less and less riddled with flaws as time goes on. And all of the evidence points toward the 587 and 586 dates, and all of it points away from the 607 BCE date. Everything that tries to emphasize the flaws and fixes is apparently nothing more than the equivalent of disingenuous bluster.
  18. Unfortunately for your claim, the complete texts of Dougherty's books are availalble online. You can start here: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Dougherty%2C%20Raymond%20Philip%2C%201877-1933 You can see from the list at that link that he wrote the book on Nabonidus in 1920, which was his very first work on the subject. You can read the entire book and notice that he has no discussion of chronology. With no explanation, he merely accepts these particular dates for Nabonidus accession year as 555 BC and his 17th year as 538 BC. Except for the brief repetition of these dates in the title and on the first page, he never mentions dates again in the entire book. Then, after about 10 more years of study and writing he finally, in 1929, writes a book that includes a full discussion of the chronology including the documentary sources and the synchronization of the various lists of kings. He even explicitly mentions that there had recently been many new studies, with new documentation and even (p.1) that "More than five hundred tablets of this type had been published in the last decade." (1920-1929). That last book of his, the one that finally addresses the chronology question, starts out with these words in the very first sentence of the introduction: "the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C." There is no more mention of that 538 B.C. date from his first work on Nabonidus, a decade earlier. In fact, he now dates the same period of Nabonidus, not from 555 to 538, but from 556 to 539. So your attempt to imply that his sureness about the date 539 was somehow weakened by his first, older book seems disingenuous. It would be just like saying that the Watchtower doesn't really teach 1914, just because some of the older Watchtower magazines (from 1913 and early 1914) show that Russell had temporarily dropped 1914 and moved his expectations to 1915.
  19. There may be better and clearer alternatives to the idea from Daniel 9:1-2, but I don't believe anyone has found any major problems or discrepancies with the WTS understanding. (Daniel 9:1, 2) 9 In the first year of Da·riʹus the son of A·has·u·eʹrus—a descendant of the Medes who had been made king over the kingdom of the Chal·deʹans— 2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of years mentioned in the word of Jehovah to Jeremiah the prophet to fulfill the desolation of Jerusalem, namely, 70 years. (Daniel 1:1) 1 In the third year of the kingship of King Je·hoiʹa·kim of Judah, King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. (Jeremiah 52:28-30) 28 These are the people whom Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar took into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews. 29 In the 18th year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, 832 people were taken from Jerusalem. 30 In the 23rd year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard took Jews into exile, 745 people.. . . Based on the fact that Daniel's had discerned the 70 years of Jeremiah and that this is juxtaposed with the fact that it is now the 1st year of Darius, it seems safe to assume the following: The Chaldeans/Babylonians have been just very recently been conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire. History & Archaeology puts this event at about 539 BCE, and it appears consistent with Biblical evidence. Accepting 539 BCE is the same as accepting the entire Neo-Babylonian chronology. (Otherwise it would be like accepting that the U.S. Civil War ended in 1865 but you won't accept that it started in 1861.) Therefore, accepting 539 BCE means that Assyria fell in 609, Nebuchadnezzar became ruler in 604, numerous incursions around Judea, and exiles of prisoners from Judea were known from around 605 (months before Neb was ruler), 598/7 (Neb 7th yr. non-accession), 587/6 (Neb 18th yr), 582/1 (Neb 23rd yr) -- Jer. 52:28-30. Since Jeremiah had spoken of 70 years given to Babylon so that Babylon could rule and wreak havoc over the nations for that length of time, Daniel must have known that the 70 years was up due to the fall of Babylon. (This matches 2 Chronicles that stated that the 70 years would be up when the Persian king began ruling.) Daniel indicates that the 70 years were somehow also a part of the fulfillment of the desolation of Jerusalem, and that it was now time for the punishment to end and the restoration to Judea. But we know that Daniel would not likely be of the opinion that this meant 70 years of total desolation, since the first physical "desolations" (through incursions, battles and exile) evidently didn't start counting until about 605 and ended about 5 years after the final desolation of Jerusalem, per Jeremiah 52:30. It had been about 66 years since the first exiles. Daniel never mentions the decree of Cyrus. In Daniel 10:1 he mentions the 3rd year of Cyrus while Daniel is evidently still in Babylonia, but with no specific historical event tied to it. It seems impossible that Daniel wouldn't have known about the decree of Cyrus, but Daniel is apparently looking beyond just the return, to the actual re-inauguration of the Temple, which wouldn't start for another 20 years, and wouldn't be ready for dedication until the next century. So Daniel receives a different kind of answer about the 70 years. For the "real" fulfillment, it wouldn't be 70 years, but 70 times 7 years. This uses not a "day-for-a-year" rule but a "7-years-for-a-year" rule. Something like this rule is mentioned a couple other times in the Bible. Exactly when to start the 70 x 7 = 490 years, I wouldn't know. But it seems that Daniel is now to look far off into the future for the true Temple fulfillment. Every Christian-oriented commentary makes sense of this by having it point to Jesus as the true Temple, but this produces a couple of chronology issues, too. And our solution (WTS) doesn't do anything with the 62 weeks, or the 7 weeks, it merely combines them. We also don't have Jesus "cut off" at the 69th week. (We use the 69.5 weeks instead of the 69.0 found in Daniel 9:26 “And after the 62 weeks, Mes·siʹah will be cut off, with nothing for himself." So I wouldn't say our explanation is complete or perfect, yet, but I can't see any real evidence against it. There are other explanations that account for the 7 and the 62, but these have their own problems. This is really no different from the WTS, it would still start very close to 607 BCE (+/- a year or two) and end just as close to 539 BCE. The only thing it can't do is start at the very time of the temple destruction, but our own WTS argument also (inadvertently) argues against starting it them, because it is supposed to start at a time of full and complete desolation, which obviously didn't happen at the time of the temple destruction anyway. (Jeremiah 52:15, 16) 15 Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard took into exile some of the lowly people and the rest of the people who were left in the city. He also took the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon as well as the rest of the master craftsmen. 16 But Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard left some of the poorest people of the land to serve as vinedressers and as compulsory laborers. And as already quoted above... (Jeremiah 52:28-30) 28 These are the people whom Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar took into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews. 29 In the 18th year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, 832 people were taken from Jerusalem. 30 In the 23rd year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard took Jews into exile, 745 people.. . .
  20. Thanks for these references. Your reference to R.P.Dougherty from http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/607-587.php is utilized to show that the knowledge of the reign of these kings is based on about two thousand dated cuneiform documents. That was in 1929. Today there are thousands more of these documents that have been discovered and/or translated. They merely add to the weight of the evidence against the 607 theory. Imagine still trying to support the 607 date with 10,000 pieces of evidence all conspiring against it. What the ex-witness DOESN’T mention is, the same author had another book called “Records from Erech, time of Nabonidus (555-538 B.C.) / By Raymond Philip Dougherty” that shows the ending date of 538BC. Differences of a single year, as explained in a post above, should not bother us at all. This particular case of 538 instead of 539 is nothing to worry about, not worth mentioning, and it does not effect the identification of Nebuchadnezzar's 18th and 19th year. Remember, that the real problem is that the WTS has dated the destruction of Jerusalem in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar to a year when Nebuchadnezzar hadn't even started his first year of reign, much less his 19th. You also said: Now we cannot take it upon ourselves to suggest that when the king gave the decree to the Jews, they all of a sudden packed it all up and left. If that’s the insinuation? Then it’s wrong according to other scholars. So the Statement “must be accepted as the ultimate criterion in the determination of Neo-Babylonian chronological questions." Is highly flawed. However it appears to coincide with your ideology doesn’t it. For me, it makes absolutely no difference if some left immediately, and some waited, or some never left Babylon at all. (Which we already know is true, btw.) If scholars don't know, let them take their best guess. We do know when some of them were back in Jerusalem because the Bible tells us this. We also know that it takes a minimum of a couple months, perhaps longer if it's a large group at once. There is nothing in the chronology that depends on whether they left right away or not. Also, there is no flaw in the statement you say is highly flawed. 2,000 dated documents must be accepted as the ultimate criterion is correct from the viewpoint of the evidence on the ground. If someone argued that we need an extra 20 years in this period, so maybe Nebuchadnezzar ruled for up to 63 years instead of 43, then let them argue. (Furuli toys with this same argument.) But the Bible says it was 43. For archaeologists and historians who do not rely on the Bible, however, the "ultimate criterion" is that there are 10,000 translated tablets from this period, and NONE of them indicate that Nebuchadnezzar ruled more than 43 years. *** w11 11/1 pp. 23-24 When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part Two *** What have experts said? R. H. Sack examined numerous business tablets from the Neo-Babylonian period. In 1972, Sack wrote that new unpublished British Museum texts placed at his disposal “completely upset” previous conclusions regarding the transition of rule from Nebuchadnezzar II to his son Amel-Marduk (also known as Evil-merodach).6 How so? Sack knew that tablets showed Nebuchadnezzar II to be still ruling in the sixth month of his last (43rd) year. But these newly deciphered tablets from the accession year of the following king, Amel-Marduk, were dated to the fourth and fifth months of what had been assumed to be the same year.7 Clearly, there was a discrepancy. What do the documents show? There are further discrepancies in the transition of one king to another. For example, the documents show that Nebuchadnezzar II was still ruling in his tenth month—six months after his successor is assumed to have begun reigning.8 Imagine! Even the Watchtower (because of Furuli's book) decided to publish information that clearly attempted to chip away at faith in the Bible's evidence. Among all of the following verses it's pretty obvious that the Bible already clarifies that Jehoiachin's first year in exile started in Nebuchadnezzar's 7th year, so that the 37th year of Jehoiachin's exile would have been about 36 years later, and could not therefore go beyond Nebuchadnezzar's 43rd year -- when the Bible itself says that Amel-Marduk began to reign after Nebuchadnezzar. (2 Chronicles 36:9) 9 Je·hoiʹa·chin . . .8 Je·hoiʹa·chin was 18 years old when he became king, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. . . .11 Zed·e·kiʹah was 21 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 11 years in Jerusalem. (Jeremiah 52:28) 28 These are the people whom Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar took into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews. (2 Kings 25:8, 9) . . ., in the 19th year of King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar the king of Babylon, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard, the servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He burned down the house of Jehovah,. . . (Jeremiah 52:31) 31 Then in the 37th year of the exile of King Je·hoiʹa·chin of Judah, in the 12th month, on the 25th day of the month, King Eʹvil-merʹo·dach of Babylon, in the year he became king, . . . So these texts that supposedly "completely upset" previous conclusions hadn't actually changed a thing. The Bible was still correct according to ALL the archaeological evidence. Remember that, even after Nebuchadnezzar stopped ruling in his 43rd year (44th year counting his accession year), there is nothing wrong with continuing to call the remainder of that year either by the year of the King who started that year, or as the "0th" year of Evil-Merodach (Amel-Marduk). It's the exact same year for chronological and financial contract purposes. You added: Not to mention if the WTS held 539BC absolute instead of an approximation, it would lead to 48 years not 50, and that would led you to 609BC. There is nothing wrong with the year 609 BCE for the beginning of Babylon's 70 years. It's the year that Assyria fell. The Babylonian Empire follows the Assyrian Empire. Also, as you and others have speculated, the real rule of Cyrus, at least over the destination of the Jewish nation, may not have started until the time of the actual decree which could have delayed until 538 BCE. We really can't tell absolutely if Babylon was fully conquered in a single night, even if the effect of the conquest started then. I would not personally quibble about a few months, just as I would not quibble about the months it took Babylon to take advantage of the fall of Nineveh/Assyria 70 years earlier in 609 BCE. You also said: Another fallacy you have is not to see the revisions that even A.K. Grayson has made to his chronology. I don't care of A. K. Grayson had to correct an error or not. Obviously it didn't make a difference to the years of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty. It's not a fallacy because I don't rely on it. If a person looks for credibility in their logic, then depend on evidence, and don't use the word "fallacy" incorrectly about another person. If someone has pointed out a true "fallacy" and then you keep trying to use the word incorrectly, it comes across as blame-shifting, instead of reliance on evidence. (I think it was Pee-wee Herman who satirized blame-shifting with the children's expression: "I know you are but what am I?") Also, for interested readers, the correction to Grayson is not really a change in his chronology. It should also not be confused with the way the WTS seems to make it appear that he agrees with the WTS "chronology" in the Insight book: *** it-2 p. 480 Nebuchadnezzar *** The inscriptions further show that news of his father’s death brought Nebuchadnezzar back to Babylon, and on the first of Elul (August-September), he ascended the throne. In this his accession year he returned to Hattu, and “in the month Shebat [January-February, 624 B.C.E.] he took the vast booty of Hattu to Babylon.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 100) When you actually look up Grayson's book, you can see that the bracketed information within the quotes is not there. It was added by the WTS. It might even make it appear that Grayson supported 624 BCE as the year of Nebuchadnezzar's father's death or Nebuchadnezzar's accession year. In fact Grayson, EVERYWHERE, supports the same years that the evidence points to: 587/586 as the year of Jerusalem's destruction. There was no change by Grayson to any of this. So in all honesty, 587BC is NOT absolute. And if you bother to look into what was going on between 539BC to 537BC you would understand that 537BCE is more viable than 587BC 587 is not supposed to be "absolute." But I have no trouble with the slippage of a couple of few months between 539 and 538. But using the WTS preferred years, there is no Biblical reason to move the end of Babylon's 70 years to 537, because the WTS does it for reasons related to the word "desolation" which is not a part of the 70 years for Babylon. That's because there is no Bible verse that demands that the desolation start counting exactly from the time Jerusalem is destroyed. The "desolations" as Daniel calls them could include the exiles and depredations against the Jews that started as soon as they began "shaking like a leaf" in fear of the Babylonian Empire all the way up until Cyrus decreed their release. (Leviticus 26:34-38) 34 “‘At that time the land will pay off its sabbaths all the days it lies desolate, while you are in the land of your enemies. At that time the land will rest, as it must repay its sabbaths. 35 All the days it lies desolate it will rest, because it did not rest during your sabbaths when you were dwelling on it. 36 “‘As for those who survive, I will fill their hearts with despair in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a blowing leaf will cause them to flee, and they will flee like someone running from the sword and fall without anyone pursuing them. 37 They will stumble over one another like those running from a sword, though no one is pursuing them. You will not be able to resist your enemies. 38 You will perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies will consume you. Nations have long known that you begin killing your enemies when you make them afraid enough to pick up and move. Often, many more of them die in the "trek" than would ever be killed through warfare. Jeremiah says that some were already fleeing to Egypt for example, when it wasn't even necessary and wasn't going to save them. Also, the number of years of sabbaths to pay off are not necessarily 70 years, anyway, but whatever number they were could be completed because of the 70 years that was given for Babylon to become the dominant empire. Your statement that 537 is more viable than 587 is not correct. In fact, accepting 537 for a Jewish restoration on their own land can only be done if you are also accepting 587 as the date for the destruction of Jerusalem. 587 is still part of the same chronology as 537. This is not just seen by the chronology, but it even makes more sense from the Bible account. It's seen in the words of Zechariah about how long they have wailed over the Temple. Because if you accept 537, you are also accepting 519/8 for the 70 years of wailing between 587 and 518. It also makes more sense of the fact that several of the Jewish captives in Babylon made the trek back to Jerusalem and remembered the first Temple. The WTS chronology accepts 518, which requires 587, but if there was evidence of Jerusalem's destruction in 607 it would mean that these people who remembered what they had seen may have been teenagers in 607. That means that they ranged in age from 102 to 108 years old. That kind of lifespan was a rarity according to both Biblical and Babylonian records. You would think it even less likely of people kept in captivity, and forced to take the long trek back to Jerusalem at an elderly age. Not only does the 607 date make very little sense from an archaeological perspective, it makes very little sense from a Biblical perspective, too. Also, the only reason we, as Witnesses, make a big deal about it, is because we require it as the only evidence for 1914. But from a Biblical perspective, the 1914 doctrine also creates unnecessarily contradictions for all the scriptures about the following topics: The Kingdom The Generation The Sign The Gentile Times The Parousia Jesus' instruction about not knowing the times and the seasons and not to follow anyone who says the due time has approched Paul's instruction that about the times and seasons we need nothing to be written to us
  21. Blame is easy; truth is hard! Thanks for providing some real information in this post that is relevant to the discussion. I noticed that none of those sources you mentioned does anything except show that there is sometimes a one year difference among scholars, historians, and archaeologists. And among religious commentators and religious ideologies there can be any number of differences, because the all-too-common practice among religious writers is to accept an arbitrary secular date as true and then interpret prophecy in such a way that other dates are rejected. Or they push a specific interpretation of prophecy that tells them they must simply reject any secular dates, and then they decide that their religious ideological study has just become a "chronology." You may easily find scholars and other specialists who accept dates with a one year difference from each other, there are several good reasons for this: A king's reign is sometimes counted from the year he began ruling (as Year 1), and sometimes the remaining months in the first year are called the "accession year" or "Year 0" as it were, and only the start of the following year is called the first year. We have a similar linguistic issue in different English usage when we speak of a baby's first year: A baby born on July 1, 2015 might be said to be in his or her "first year": only until December 31, 2015 only after January 1, 2016 only until June 30, 2016 only after July 1, 2016 Sometimes that following year starts in the Spring in some calendars and sometimes in the Fall, and the Jewish writings sometimes use either one, because they started their secular year in the Fall and religious year in the Spring. The remaining months of the "accession" year might continue to be listed on dated financial documents and contracts for the previous ruler, especially if a transition is taking place, or if word of a ruler's death or removal has not reached all parts of an empire. (Similarly, in the US, J.F. Kennedy was killed in late November 1963, and some "remote" citizens in Appalachia and Alaska for example, didn't learn of it until after the Kennedy half-dollar coin circulated in 1964.) Astronomers, for example, consistently refer to dates like 607 BCE as -606, or 587 BCE as -586. or 4 BCE as -3. It's because they use the dates in mathematical calculations, and adjust this way for the zero year problem. (This was one of the methods that appeared to confuse Russell when he said he wasn't sure about the zero year problem.) Our current calendar years that are identified from January 1 to December 31 do not map directly to ancient years that could run from Spring to Spring or Fall to Fall. This means that historians may speak of a specific year as 587/586, for example. They are still referring to a single year, but it maps across parts of two ancient years. One of the most dishonest arguments I have seen in these discussions is the idea that scholars mention both 587 and 586 for the destruction of Jerusalem, therefore if they can be off by one year, then this is a reason to consider that the WTS may be right when they need the evidence to be off by 20 years. The reason is usually related to #1 above, and sometimes #4 and sometimes #5. (#1 and #2 together could potentially create a difference of 18 months which could appear to be a two-year discrepancy, even though it really is not.) Again: "Blame is easy; truth is hard." When the Biblical evidence for anyone's religious belief turns out to be weak, we should know. It should be our habit to know about these things because this is also how we convince people in our ministry that or own beliefs are worth changing their life about. Of course, you also know that these ideas are not merely my own beliefs, they are the beliefs based on nearly 100% of Bible scholars and 100% of Neo-Babylonian historians and archaeologists. That is the reason to consider the evidence. Not because someone has strong beliefs. Based on previous discussions, most Witnesses, I'd guess, do not believe you are correct, but I agree with the first part. The WTS gives a lot of evidence that they have not factored the probabilities. You are absolutely wrong on this point. The Bible Student chronology is completely irrelevant and meaningless to the actual evidence. It has nothing to do with the evidence from the Bible, history, and archaeology. I brought it up earlier because we can learn from past mistakes. We can see a "paper trail" that shows how and why some of these mistakes were made. And I think the most important lessons we can learn from those mistakes is that neither 606 nor 607 was ever considered to be a strong argument for 1914. That's because 1914 had already been determined through about 7 other methods that had nothing to do with the "7 times" of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4. All the other methods were considered definitive because all of them focused on 1874, plus a 40 year harvest. It was already a solid date due to its relationship with 1874. Russell wrote an article for George Storrs "Bible Examiner" in 1876 admitting this when he said: "If the Gentile Times end in 1914, (and there are many other and clearer evidences pointing to the same time) and we are told that it shall be with fury poured out; at time of trouble such as never was before, nor ever shall be; a day of wrath, etc." - Russell, 1876. His article made use of Daniel 4, but only in conjunction with additional reasons which we currently reject. (7 times in Leviticus, for example). Because this was true, it's one of the reasons that it should not surprise us that the actual Biblical-historical-archaeological date for the destruction of Jerusalem was never that important. What was important was only that the period ended in 1914. Only the period from 1874 to 1914 was "absolute" and the Jerusalem date would be "interpreted" from there. The way he handled the mistake over the zero-year issue was just one of those evidences. The method of measuring the pyramids to reach 1914 was another evidence. (BTW, Russell's 1876 article in Bible Examiner also made it very clear that he didn't know the truth about the zero year.) You said: "The ONLY thing that LINKS the Bible Students with Jehovah’s Witnesses is the SAME PUBLISHING HOUSE. That’s all. So when you state the term US to link two different ideology’s it becomes hypocritical." That's a pretty strong statement, which we often hear from JW opposers, and while your position has some merit, it has been difficult for most Witnesses to accept. But it's not hypocritical to use the same terminology that the Watchtower uses about Bible Students and Witnesses. If you don't think it makes the WTS look hypocritical, then why does it make me look hypocritical? I'm sure you know there are several quotes similar to the one below that links the two groups with a type of equivalence: *** w06 2/1 p. 24 par. 12 “A Witness to All the Nations” *** During the latter part of the 19th century, after a long period when religious apostasy prevailed, pure worship was reestablished. The Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known. I doubt that I understood either of these last two paragraphs correctly because every meaning that I can derive from either one is incorrect. There is no chronology anywhere that includes 606 or 607 for the destruction of Jerusalem. There is just its use in our prophetic theory that Nebuchadnezzar somehow pictures the Jewish Messianic Kings, including Jesus. But you can literally look at 1,000 different references from history, archaeology or chronology, and you will NEVER read about Jerusalem's destruction in 606 or 607, with the exception of some discussions influenced by Second Adventists, Seventh Day Adventists, or Witnesses. I do not consider 587 BCE to be an "absolute" date. I only say that all of the evidence for the Neo-Babylonian period is very consistent and permits us to understand how long all the Babylonian kings ruled from the accepted dates from prior to Nebuchadnezzar's father all the way through the accepted dates for Nabonidus/Belshazzar, Cyrus, etc. Therefore, it also includes the accepted date for the 18th and 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. These dates can be discovered through several independent methods. We don't have to rely on the mouth of "one witness" because we have several independent lines of evidence. It's not "abolute" but, so far, it fits all the known lines of reliable evidence. You also said: "So if you accept 587BCE then you have to consider 586BCE. The same can be said about 597BC, and 606BC. We would have to consider the alternatives. 598BC and 605BC. The abstracts of those dates would be 607BC, 599BC, and 536BC." Yes, of course they are considered. That's how we know which alternatives are best, and we know that we can reject the wrong ones. That's how we know there is no evidence for those alternatives. Of course, as stated before, variances of a year or so, are usually not relevant. The one difference you mentioned 587BCE and 586BCE. That particular one is often brought up dishonestly by other Witnesses. It's due to the following minor discrepancy, where Jeremiah calls it the 18th year, but apparently Ezra called it the 19th year. But this has already been satisfactorily explained in the Watchtower and our other publications: (Jeremiah 32:1, 2) 32 The word that came to Jeremiah from Jehovah in the 10th year of King Zed·e·kiʹah of Judah, that is, the 18th year of Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar. 2 At that time the armies of the king of Babylon were besieging Jerusalem. . . (Jeremiah 52:12-14) 12 In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that is, in the 19th year of King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar the king of Babylon, Neb·uʹzar·adʹan the chief of the guard, who was an attendant of the king of Babylon, came into Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the house of Jehovah. . . *** kc p. 186 Appendix to Chapter 14 *** The Bible reports that the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in his 18th regnal year (19th when accession year is included). *** w11 11/1 p. 25 When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part Two *** Scholars say that all these positions occurred in 568/567 B.C.E., which would make the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar II, when he destroyed Jerusalem, 587 B.C.E. It would be dishonest to try to make it seem like all these scholars have trouble identifying the chronology that places Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year (including accession year) as 587 BCE, or his 18th year (without accession year) as 587 BCE, (or his 19th year, without accession year, as 586 BCE). The only reason some might place the Jerusalem destruction in 586 BCE, is because they read Jeremiah 52 as if it did not include the accession year. Again: blame is easy; truth is hard. There are thousands of persons who have studied the chronology and all of them come up with the exact same conclusion, and most of them never knew about Doug Mason or Carl Jonsson. They have no concern with the WTS. Yet, even evidence from the WTS indicates that Carl Jonsson's initial need was to prove the Watch Tower right, not to disprove it. This makes perfect sense to me, because this has always been my own reason to study it carefully, too. I also suspect that the reason you are taking an interest in chronology that does not mesh with the WTS is because you also originally intended to defend it. (I don't remember if any documented evidence indicates Doug Mason's motive. I suspect that he was once a believer in 607, too.) I agree that there are some non-Witnesses and ex-Witnesses, and maybe even some Witnesses, who promote the Biblical-Historical-Archaeological date of 587 BCE to embarrass or provoke of "expose" the WTS. But this fact apparently escapes your notice, that literally thousands of archaeologists, historians and authors who have no interest in JWs accept the same chronology that Jonsson presents. Because it's not his chronology. He is just presenting the evidence. I'm not advocating for Parker & Dubberstein or Jonsson, or Sacks, or Mason, or Ptolemy. I think you are claiming that it evidence of apostasy that someone would go on a public forum to discuss evidence that the Watchtower might have made a mistake. This was a personal decision. It was a difficult decision for many years and then Rolf Furuli made it easier. I never mentioned my own work on this subject for nearly 30 years. I never revealed what had happened inside Bethel until I spoke with Rolf Furuli, and realized his plan. I don't know what you believe about whether we have a personal obligation to preach what we know, or if you believe we have an obligation to hide what we know. But an Internet forum might give some ability to discharge our Christian obligation from Matthew 18. In this way, I can tell the truth in public, and need not offend anyone who had not already made a choice to potentially expose themselves to difficult and controversial evidence. If a person is willing to go on an Internet forum, then they have already made a decision that they will expect the possibility that they may run across information that might be true, might be interesting, or might be complete garbage. They know the counsel that they should be ready to filter what they look at, what they read, and what they think about. For those who need the ability to easily dismiss evidence for fear of being stumbled, it is easy to dismiss, because no one needs to believe the claims of a nearly anonymous Internet poster. Yet, if I feel I have some obligation to lay bare a fault in front of the congregation, after having tried to address the problem between me and him alone, then I can at least state the evidence. I am not concerned about what ex-JWs believe. Depending on how you interpret Jeremiah 35 or Jeremiah 52, there is nothing wrong with identifying the destruction at the 18th year or the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, accession or non-accession. There is chronological evidence that helps us identify both the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar and the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. As I said before, it would be dishonest to try to use this minor discrepancy in Jeremiah as a way to create uncertainty and doubt. It's just a matter of interpretation, and the Watchtower has already explained Jeremiah's discrepancy in a way that makes sense. It has nothing to do with the chronology, as I'm pretty sure you already were aware. To avoid writing too long a post, I'll handle your "clippings" from other sites in the next post. Again, thanks for engaging with information, reasoning and evidence.
  22. I think it's pretty clear that there are NO dates that are Biblically supported if they are connected to the letters BC, BCE, CE, or AD. Those very terms always refer a secular support. (In some cases dates are made up that don't have any secular support or any Biblical support, either.) Evidently, it's also pretty safe to say that 607 BCE is NOT Biblically supported, if we assume that 539 BCE is correct. (Based on what the Bible says about the "70 years" in at least 4 different places. There is the additional Biblical issue of a 70-year period that starts at the commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and coming to a close at a period nearly 20 years past the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus. (Zechariah 1:12) . . .“O Jehovah of armies, how long will you withhold your mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with whom you have been indignant these 70 years?” (Zechariah 7:5) . . .‘When you fasted and wailed in the fifth month and in the seventh month for 70 years. . . (Zechariah 8:19) . . .‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth month, the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth month will be occasions for exultation and joy for the house of Judah. . . *** w96 11/15 p. 5 Does God Require Fasting? *** For example, at one time the people of Judah had four annual fasts to commemorate the calamitous events associated with Jerusalem’s siege and desolation in the seventh century B.C.E. (2 Kings 25:1-4, 8, 9, 22-26; Zechariah 8:19) According to our current understanding of the chronology that includes the supposed destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE, then this produces a contradiction, because we date the book of Zechariah as follows: *** nwt p. 1662 Table of the Books of the Bible *** Zechariah Jerusalem rebuilt 518 520-518 [BCE] If Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BCE, then 518 BCE is 69 years later, and therefore matches Zechariah's theme of 70 years of withheld mercy and indignities, and wailing and fasting over Jerusalem, which is now being rebuilt. If Jerusalem had been destroyed in 607 BCE, then by Zechariah's time, in 518 BCE, it would have been 89 years of wailing and fasting. Neither date is "Biblical" and neither date should really matter that much, but it is curious that 607 BCE is totally impossible from the perspective of secular evidence, and it becomes very difficult from the perspective of Biblical evidence. Yet 587 BCE is totally supported from the perspective of secular evidence and provides an excellent match to the Biblical evidence. There should really be no reason why we are not rejoicing that secular, historical, archaeological evidence for 587 BCE once again shows the Bible to be accurate and sound from a historical perspective.
  23. I appreciate all the points you made in your comment. This was surely the same point being made in 2 Peter. This is the point that I think Allen Smith might not have realized he was making for many Witnesses when he spoke of how "the fine work is to READ it for ourselves to SEE if it harmonizes with scripture and accept it as correct and holy." I think that most Witnesses will avoid doing this out of the fear that it leads to apostasy. But Witnesses who have done what Allen recommends are becoming troubled by how difficult it really is to harmonize it, and we should be concerned about what is happening to them and why. Many are leaving the organization specifically because of these troubles harmonizing these teachings with the Scriptures. For example: We say that wicked king Nebuchadnezzar who killed and enslaved God's people pictures the Messianic Kingdom through Jesus Christ. We say that the break in this Gentile pagan's rulership pictured the break in the Jewish non-Gentile rulership. Daniel says the "Tree Dream" was fulfilled in Nebuchadnezzar's lifetime, and we say it was not fulfilled in his lifetime. We say that the "Gentile Times" ended at a time when the "Gentile Times" apparently became stronger and more troublesome than ever. Jesus said the Gentile Times will begin in the near future after the time he spoke, not that they will begin in the past. (Luke 21:24) . . .Jerusalem [the holy city] will be trampled [underfoot] on by the nations [Gentiles] until the appointed times of the nations [Gentiles] are fulfilled. The only time the Bible ever repeats Jesus expressions in Luke 21:24 about the Gentile Times is in Revelation 11:2,3 when it ties it to a time period of 1,260 days, not 2,520 years. (". . . the nations [Gentiles]. . .will trample the holy city [Jerusalem] underfoot for 42 months . . . 1,260 days. . . .) We say that the eyes of faith saw the unmistakable sign of Christ's presence begin in 1914 when the Watchtower kept saying it was 1874 until about 1930, and didn't officially change the 1874 date until 1943-4. We say the "Kingdom" began in 1914 when the Bible says it began when Jesus sat at God's right hand. We say the generation of anointed that could lift their heads up because they would not pass away until they would see all these things occur has mostly passed away in the 102 years since 1914. Obviously, this could go on and on. But the important thing is that all these contradictions clear up when we accept Jesus words about not being concerned about the times and seasons.
  24. The date doesn't matter, it's the fact that we are now living in the time when the Scriptures say that these events have occurred. I don't really attach a specific date to the beginning, but I assume our dates for the events the Bible describes are accurate. It seems likely that the enthronement would have happening around the same time that the Bible tells us that Jesus began to "rule as king." Paul used this expression (1 Cor 15:25) as an exact synonym for "sit at God's right hand" which was as soon as he was raised to heaven and began sitting at God's right hand of the throne of Majesty. Before this time, Jesus would have been the "king-designate" during his ministry, but after his resurrection when "all authority had been given to him in heaven and on earth," since that time he is called the "King of Kings." So the Scriptures seem to tie the event of Jesus' resurrection to his enthronement. (Acts 2:30, 31) . . .God had sworn to him with an oath that he would seat one of his offspring on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ,. . . (1 Timothy 6:15) . . .He is the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords, (Hebrews 8:1) . . .he has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. . . (Matthew 28:18-20) . . .: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. . . . I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (1 Peter 3:21, 22) . . .through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22 He is at God’s right hand, for he went to heaven, and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him. et cetera. Every use of the term "last days" [Gk: eschatos hēmera ] in the Bible also appears to fit a similar time period. Peter gave evidence that the "last days" were already upon them at Pentecost. (Acts 2:14-17) 14 But Peter stood up with the Eleven and spoke to them in a loud voice: “Men of Ju·deʹa and all you inhabitants of Jerusalem, let this be known to you and listen carefully to my words. 15 These people are, in fact, not drunk, as you suppose, for it is the third hour of the day. 16 On the contrary, this is what was said through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘“And in the last days,” [Gk: eschatos hēmera ] God says, “I will pour out some of my spirit on every sort of flesh,. . . And Paul explained to Timothy that the reason he should expect to suffer adversity and meet up with persons "not favorably" disposed, is because this is what they should expect now that they were living in the last days. (2 Timothy 2:2-3:14) . . .. 3 As a fine soldier of Christ Jesus, take your part in suffering adversity. . .10 For this reason I go on enduring all things for the sake of the chosen ones, . . .12 if we go on enduring, we will also rule together as kings; if we deny, he will also deny us; . . .14 Keep reminding them of these things, . . .16 But reject empty speeches . . . . Hy·me·naeʹus and Phi·leʹtus are among them. 18 These men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred, and they are subverting the faith of some. . . . 23 Further, reject foolish and ignorant debates . . .24 For a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, showing restraint when wronged, 25 instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed. Perhaps God may give them repentance leading to an accurate knowledge of truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the Devil, seeing that they have been caught alive by him to do his will. 3 But know this, that in the last days [Gk: eschatos hēmera] critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, 3 having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, . . . 7 always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth. 8 Now in the way that Janʹnes and Jamʹbres opposed Moses, so these also go on opposing the truth. Such men are completely corrupted in mind, disapproved as regards the faith. . . . But you have closely followed my teaching, my course of life, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, 11 the persecutions and sufferings such as I experienced in Antioch, in I·coʹni·um, in Lysʹtra. I endured these persecutions, and the Lord rescued me from them all. 12 In fact, all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted. 13 But wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled. 14 You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, . . . I left a lot of the context there because it makes it clear that Paul was not saying: "Hey, you think you have it bad now, just be glad you aren't living in the last days. They start nearly 2,000 years from now and when those times get here, things will really be bad." Paul is clearly saying that the kinds of things that were currently happening in their own day were surely to be expected now that they were living in the "last days" The same point is made in the context of 2 Peter when Peter uses the expression "last days." (2 Peter 2:17-3:12) 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a violent storm, and the blackest darkness has been reserved for them. 18 They make high-sounding statements that are empty. By appealing to the desires of the flesh and with acts of brazen conduct, they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error. . . . 3 Beloved ones, this is now the second letter I am writing you in which, as in my first one, I am stirring up your clear thinking faculties by way of a reminder, 2 that you should remember the sayings previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. 3 First of all know this, that in the last days [Gk: eschatos hēmera] ridiculers will come with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires 4 and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as they were from creation’s beginning.” 5 For they deliberately ignore this fact, . . . 8 However, do not let this escape your notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. 9 Jehovah is not slow concerning his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. . . . 11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, consider what sort of people you ought to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, 12 as you await and keep close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah,. . . Again, they were to be prepared in Peter's time for these ridiculers who had already come to ridicule the fact that the parousia had obviously not begun yet. In fact, the parallel to this chapter in Jude makes the point even clearer. The application was to the fact that they were in the "last days," or "last time." (Jude 17-21) 17 As for you, beloved ones, call to mind the sayings that have been previously spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 how they used to say to you: “In the last time there will be ridiculers, following their own desires for ungodly things.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, animalistic men, not having spirituality. 20 But you, beloved ones, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, and pray with holy spirit, 21 in order to keep yourselves in God’s love, while you await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view. It also turns out that the exact same expression "the last days" is used in the following verses in Hebrews 1. Although the NWT is usually very careful to present a consistent translation, the translators chose to change the expression from "the last days" to "at the end of these days." (Hebrews 1:1, 2) 1 Long ago God spoke to our forefathers by means of the prophets on many occasions and in many ways. 2 Now at the end of these days [Gk: eschatos hēmera] he has spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. The problem, is of course, the fact that the verse says that we were "now" already at that time, in the "last days" [Gk: eschatos hēmera]. Of course, the expressions the "last day," the "last days, the "last hour," etc., could also refer to the very end at the time of judgment, too. (John 11:24) . . .Martha said to him: “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.. . . (James 5:2, 3) . . .. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted away, and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh. What you have stored up will be like a fire in the last days. So the expression does not seem to be reserved for some unique special use just to refer to a special 102-year-plus time period near the end of the last days.
  25. That's pretty easy to answer. You don't seem to put much reliance in the date 539 BCE, that the Watchtower promotes as the accurate, pivotal point. Yet, the older publications even called this an "absolute" date. 587 BCE does NOT supersede all these "variables." It does not supersede them because it is based only on the same lines of evidence for which we base 539 BCE. In fact, it's accuracy is merely a question of finding out what made 539 BCE an accurate, pivotal point. What made it so accurate as to once be called an "absolute date"? *** w68 5/1 p. 268 par. 20 Understanding Time a Help to True Worshipers *** 20 For calculating Hebrew Scripture dates, the absolute date of October 5 to 6 in the year 539 B.C.E. is essential. So, it turns out that we don't need any "divine intervention." If we take an interest in what made 539 BCE so accurate, that by itself, turns out to be the same information that makes 587 BCE not MORE accurate, but exactly the SAME in accuracy as the so-called absolute date of 539 BCE. It turns out to also be the same information that indicates the level of inaccuracy of 607 BCE. So if you trust that 539 BCE is accurate, and I understand that you might not, but if you did, then you would see that it's everything the Watchtower ever said about 539 BCE which is the source of evidence to correct 607 BCE. From that perspective it is the Watchtower publications that are, in effect, declaring 587 BCE as accurate as 539 by pointing us to the types of evidence that make 539 BCE so accurate. The 539 evidence pointed to is the same evidence that makes 607 inaccurate. No one's knowledge is greater than God's. But as you have also said "the fine work is to READ it for ourselves to SEE if it harmonizes with scripture and accept it as correct and holy." You are right, and this is the ONLY reason to still be concerned about it. We should see if it harmonizes. It turns out that 607 BCE does NOT harmonize with scripture. It creates contradictions. It just so happens that the sources that make 539 BCE so accurate and absolute ALSO are the sources for the evidence for 587 BCE instead of 607 BCE. And coincidentally, 587 BCE just happens to remove the Bible contradiction that 607 BCE causes. This doesn't mean that 587 BCE is terribly important to me. Our core doctrines work perfectly well without 587 BCE and without 607 BCE. This is also why in a local congregational setting, I never bring it up. My personal conversations have always been with friends and brothers from Bethel on this subject. I've had Bible studies where we discuss this particular doctrine and I merely say that this is the Watch Tower Society's current view on the subject. I admit that there have been various views on the subject of chronology and that some of the brothers take a very keen interest in these dates. But I add that we don't serve specifically for dates; the important thing is that we realize we are in the last days, that Jesus Christ is enthroned, and we still pray that this Kingdom will come and God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That should be enough to motivate us to show love and concern for all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith. I don't tell anyone else that they should minimize these dates. It's just my own conscience. We've had several Bible studies reach the point of baptism, over a dozen through the years, and only once has a Bible study questioned why I don't emphasize the dates the same way that other brothers do. These views, to me, are not so divergent that they need to interfere with the ministry. To you, it sounds like they are. But that's your own conscience. I have to pay attention to my teaching, you have to pay attention to yours. The main thing is not to misrepresent scripture. We have a wide array of spiritual food, and a wide range of ministries. We are not all obligated to focus on the exact same ministry and teaching as the person next to us. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) 4 Now there are different gifts, but there is the same spirit; 5 and there are different ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; 6 and there are different activities, and yet it is the same God who performs them all in everyone. 7 But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for a beneficial purpose. 8 For to one is given speech of wisdom through the spirit, to another speech of knowledge according to the same spirit, 9 to another faith by the same spirit, . . . 11 But all these operations are performed by the very same spirit, distributing to each one respectively just as it wills. If I'm not good at accepting 607 BCE, why not just consider it a weakness on my part. (1 Corinthians 12:22) 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary, But there is never a reason to use such disagreements to produce divisions and sects in the congregation. But that doesn't mean that we should be silent if we see a problem, and neither can I conscientiously remain silent when a problem such as this one has been brought to my attention.

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