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JW Insider

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  1. My Greek is far from perfect, but if this verse was translated from any major mss, then I can't figure how they got that translation. Except for word order, which doesn't matter much in Greek, I think all the mss match up pretty well on this verse anyway. The addition of the word, μὲν, plus the context, makes it impossible to translate "neither" into the text as far as I can tell. (That word, plus the context of the following verse, pretty much forces it to have the same meaning that the NWT presents.) Sounds to me like they translated it that way because of a personal preference. It's still possible to look at how men's hair grows naturally to a shorter length on average than a woman's. The verse doesn't say anything about exact hair lengths.
  2. The Chronology article in Insight should be helpful here in mapping the 4 generations to the 400 years mentioned n verse 14: *** it-1 pp. 460-461 Chronology *** The period from Abraham’s move to Canaan until Jacob’s going down into Egypt was 215 years. This figure is derived from the following facts: Twenty-five years passed from Abraham’s departure from Haran to the birth of Isaac (Ge 12:4; 21:5); from then to the birth of Jacob was 60 years (Ge 25:26); and Jacob was 130 at the time of his entry into Egypt (Ge 47:9); thus giving a total of 215 years (from 1943 to 1728 B.C.E.). This means that an equal period of 215 years was thereafter spent by the Israelites in Egypt (from 1728 to 1513 B.C.E.). . . . “You may know for sure that your seed will become an alien resident in a land not theirs, and they will have to serve them, and these will certainly afflict them for four hundred years.” (Ge 15:13; see also Ac 7:6, 7.) This was stated prior to the birth of the promised heir or “seed,” Isaac. In 1932 B.C.E. Ishmael was born to Abram by the Egyptian servant girl Hagar, and in 1918 B.C.E. Isaac was born. (Ge 16:16; 21:5) Counting back 400 years from the Exodus, which marked the end of the ‘afflicting’ (Ge 15:14), would bring us to 1913 B.C.E., and at that time Isaac was about five years old. . . . The very fact that this incident was recorded in detail in the divine record also points to its marking the commencement of the prophesied 400-year period of affliction that would not end until the Exodus.—Ga 4:29. So these 4 generations could be understood to take the full 400 years. Of course there is also a good possibility that the 4 generations refers only to the portion of those 400 years that begins after Abraham is promised a peaceful death in old age (1843 BCE), or just as likely, the portion of time that four generations of offspring will be foreigners n Egypt.. (Genesis 15:13-16) 13 Then He said to Aʹbram: “Know for certain that your offspring will be foreigners in a land not theirs and that the people there will enslave them and afflict them for 400 years. . . . 15 As for you, you will go to your forefathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. 16 But they will return here in the fourth generation, . . . *** it-1 p. 31 Abraham *** Finally, at the good old age of 175, Abraham died, in 1843 B.C.E. If it's the 215-year portion spent in a land not theirs (Egypt) then it's 215 divided by 4 which is nearly 54 years. If it's the full 400 years divided by 4 generations Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the "12" brothers, then that averages 100 years each. If it's 400 years that starts after Abraham's death.in 1843 BCE, then 1843 to 1513 BCE leaves an average generation of 82.5 years. The most likely one that fits the other generation examples would have to be the four generations that spent time in Egypt, not only after Abraham died, but even after Joseph died. In this case, that's about 54 years. (Exodus 1:5-8) . . .. 5 And all those who were born to Jacob were 70 people, but Joseph was already in Egypt. 6 Joseph eventually died, and also all his brothers and all that generation. 7 And the Israelites became fruitful and began to increase greatly, and they kept on multiplying and growing mightier at an extraordinary rate, so that the land became filled with them. 8 In time there arose over Egypt a new king, one who did not know Joseph *** it-1 p. 778 Exodus *** ". . .there could have been more than three million persons." *** it-2 pp. 110-111 Joseph *** Joseph survived his father by about 54 years, reaching the age of 110 years. It was his privilege to see even some of his great-grandsons. Before his death, Joseph, in faith, requested that his bones be taken to Canaan by the Israelites at the time of their Exodus. So, it obviously required 4 generations to produce the millions who traveled with Moses. Notice the average, even during times when lifespans were recorded up to nearly 1,000 years of age, *** it-1 p. 28 Abraham *** Abraham was the tenth generation from Noah through Shem and was born 352 years after the Deluge, in 2018 B.C.E. That's about 35.2 years when you divide 352 years by 10 generations. We also already know that one of the meanings Jesus had in mind was about 33 to 36 years from 33 C.E. up until Jerusalem was surrounded in 66 C.E. up until it was destroyed in 70 C.E.
  3. This is another example of postulated chronology by those that never understood the meaning. Chronology will always be for those of us that do understand the standards to be 2520+1. That’s how the WTS has always viewed the standard. Backwards it would read 2,520 – 607 = 1913+1=1914. That hasn’t changed due to the other standards coming to the same conclusion. (1 Corinthians 2:10) Allen, OK. Now we can get the meat of the discussion. So your first point is that the WTS has always viewed the standard as 2520 + 1, where +1 must represent the need to subtract for the lack of a zero year. It is very simple to show that you are working from a false premise here. Here's where you went wrong. It was when you stated, "That's how the WTS has always viewed the standard." You are wrong when you used the word "always" in that sentence. Russell and Barbour both made some additional mistakes, but here is a place where Russell admits clearly how he got 1914 - 2,520 = 607 BCE. He says it was because they simply didn't know for sure whether to include the "zero year." Here's what Russell actually said in the December 1, 1912 Watch Tower, pages 377-378: THE ENDING OF THE GENTILE TIMES ...Previous history was reckoned and styled Before Christ (B.C.) and subsequent history was styled Anno Domini (A.D.)--in the year of our Lord. Whether Dionysius began his A.D. period January 1st, A.D. 1, or whether he began it January 1st, A.D. 0, we may not be sure; neither may we feel too certain whether he began the B.C. dates December 31st, B.C. 0, or December 31st, B.C. 1. For all ordinary purposes this question would be rather immaterial. But it has a very important bearing on our calculation of Gentile Times. Even in this particular the matter seemed less important thirty or forty years ago than it does today; for now as we come down to the close of the Gentile Times we are disposed to give every feature a critical and microscopical examination not thought so necessary some years ago. Then, we were content to say, "606 B.C. seems a well authenticated date for the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and B.C. 536 the date when the seventy years' appointed desolation of the land ceased." Our method adopted in the STUDIES IN THE 360 SCRIPTURES was a simple one. We said: 7 The Bible times of Gentile supremacy and --- Israel's rejection equals 7 times 360, or 2,520 2,520 years. From this we deducted the B.C. 606 date before Christ (B.C.) 606. Thus we ----- found the year A.D. 1914. A.D. 1914 AN OPEN QUESTION Coming now to a very critical examination of the date 536 B.C., there is an open question: ...What is the proper method of calculation, is in dispute. If we count the first year B.C. as , then the date 536-1/4 B.C. is the proper one for the end of the seventy years of captivity. But if we begin to reckon it by counting the first year before the Christian era as B.C. 1, then evidently the desolation ended 535-1/4 years B.C. As to the methods of counting, Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Astronomers denote the year which preceded the first of our era as and the year previous to that as B.C. 1--the previous year B.C. 2, and so on." Whichever of these ways we undertake to calculate the matter the difference between the results is one year. The seventy years of Jewish captivity ended October, 536 B.C., and if there were 536-1/4 years B.C., then to complete the 2,520 years' cycle of the Times of the Gentiles would require 1913-3/4 years of A.D., or to October, 1914. But if the other way of reckoning were used, then there were but 535-1/4 years of the period B.C., and the remainder of the 2,520 years would reach to A.D., 1914-3/4 years, otherwise October, 1915. Since this question is agitating the minds of a considerable number of the friends, we have presented it here in some detail. We remind the readers, however, that nothing in the Scriptures says definitely that the trouble upon the Gentiles will be accomplished before the close of the Times of the Gentiles, whether that be October, 1914, or October, 1915. The trouble doubtless will be considerable before the final crash, even though that crash come suddenly, like the casting of a great millstone into the sea. (Rev. 18:21.) The parallel between the Jewish Harvest and the present Harvest would corroborate the thought that the trouble to the full will be accomplished by October, 1915. ... There surely is room for slight differences of opinion on this subject and it behooves us to grant each other the widest latitude. The lease of power to the Gentiles may end in October, 1914, or in October, 1915. And the period of intense strife and anarchy "such as never was since there was a nation" may be the final ending of the Gentile Times or the beginning of Messiah's reign. But we remind all of our readers again, that we have not prophesied anything about the Times of the Gentiles closing in a time of trouble nor about the glorious epoch which will shortly follow that catastrophe. . . Finally, let us remember that we did not consecrate either to October, 1914, nor to October, 1915, or to any other date, but "unto death." If for any reason the Lord has permitted us to miscalculate the prophecies, the signs of the times assure us that the miscalculations cannot be very great. ... So, please let me know if you understand this in the same way before we go on.
  4. Thanks for your response. As individuals, we have a responsibility to wait on Jehovah, but not to wait on the organization, if they are at odds. Fortunately this should rarely be a problem. We are under a dual obligation to serve Jehovah but also to follow those who are taking the lead among us. We (many of us, anyway) should also be reaching out for the office of overseer so that we can also take the lead, too. I think you might not realize just how fast things will keep changing, especially now that the Internet is available and 20 million people have paid attention to us through participation, Bible study, meeting attendance, etc. And don't think that the Governing Body aren't having trouble keeping up with "Jehovah's Chariot" themselves. In a practical sense, changes happen faster when more questions come in, and more of those questions can't be answered by "correspondence," "service," "legal," and "public relations" departments. More doctrinal changes have happened in the last 10 years than have happened since 1929 in this Organization. I might be biased but I think the last decade of changes actually makes much more sense than the previous versions of the changed teachings. Jehovah's Chariot speeds because there are now millions more people who might ask a difficult question. Also, I think you know that Jehovah is the ultimate Judge, and those who were hurt and stumbled will be cared for with whatever extra it may take for Jehovah to satisfy the desire of every living thing. Jehovah has an eternity to make up for some injustices that will seem like a forgotten second of time, an eternity from now. When he wipes out every tear from our eyes, and pain, that would have to mean every kind of pain, even those that we inflicted upon each other in this life. Faith drives our motivation to do what is right toward each other, but as imperfect people, we sometimes do wrong. Jehovah looks at the motivation, and can undo the harm.
  5. Hello Allen, Glad to see you are alert to come to our defense on 607 BCE. Defending the teaching, just as you are doing, was also my own reaction. And I am still anxious to see if anyone can even make an honest attempt. If you, or the Governing Body, or anyone else in the world can make an honest attempt to defend it, I'd be very happy. In truth, I would expect every Witness to either come running to its defense, or at least want to see the teaching defended. I'm therefore genuinely happy to see you respond as I did. I also agree that my interpretation is not up for debate. This is not about my interpretation. I'm not even sure that I personally would have ever given it much thought on my own. The alternative interpretations that various Bible scholars, archaeologists, and historians have given about 607 B.C.E. are not my own, and they have nothing to do with me. They are merely interpretations and evidence brought to my attention by many other Witnesses, just because they happened to share those interpretations with me. So I will try to respond to what you have said so far, and hopefully we can move on to a discussion to see if there is any evidence, anywhere, for this 607 BCE date. SOURCE? So first let me address this idea that the "source" for making this argument comes from speaking with some past members that either resigned or were removed for apostasy. This is not true. The "sources," (not "source") include Brothers Bert Schroeder (GB), Fred Rusk, and Daniel Sydlik (GB), who remained in pretty much their same positions for the rest of their lives, health permitting. There were also 3 former members (still living) and one current member of the Writing Department. At the time this was brought to my attention, there was also a member of the Service Department whom I conversed with, and who understood the problem about the 607 evidence. (Schroeder and Rusk never "disavowed" 607, btw, as far as I know.) Schroeder let me know his concerns about Swingle and Ray Franz (and a couple of others) but I never spoke to either Swingle or Ray Franz about it. I spoke to Swingle about the topic of 1914 in general, but never 607. As far as I can tell, 6 out of 9 persons I refer to above never were removed from positions, never resigned, and were never disfellowshipped. Ray Franz of course has documented what happened to him. One of the brothers who was a good friend of mine was asked to leave Bethel although he remained an elder in his home congregation where he was appointed to be a special pioneer, and from where he continued to handle projects for the Writing Department. He was a primary Aid Book researcher and writer. Also, Brother Chitty never told me directly about his views on the 1914 chronology system, but he did tell my wife (in front of Fred and Margie Rusk) who only told me when she learned that I had been discussing the same issue with Bert Schroeder. This does not mean that there were not many more people who understood the evidence against 607. It was pretty clear that everyone in Writing had a pretty good idea about the strength of the evidence because COJ's manuscript just sat on a shelf for many months, while brothers spoke of it as the "hot potato" that no one wanted to touch. My good friend told me that it could become the end anyone's career at Bethel if they tried to respond to it fully and honestly. As you have said, this portion of the conversation doesn't mean anything to the actual evidence. But I thought it appropriate to give a little background into how I personally came across the information about the evidence. You are wrong about R. Franz and Chitty. (Chitty was never disfellowshipped, by the way.) I never heard it from either of them personally. As far as GB members go, it was Sydlik who said to me: 'we need to scrap the whole chronology, 1914, 1918, 1919, 1922, and start from scratch.' Schroeder said Swingle was a "non-believer" but all Swingle ever told me personally was "1914 will become less and less important, as time goes on. Not to worry." We'll compare notes on Miller later? Russell made that subject fairly simple, so I think if we've both read the same sources from Russell, we probably already agree. Agree completely about Swingle. That's what I loved about him. It's true he was rough and gruff, and cursed a lot, even used the "n" word, but he loved Jehovah and loved the Scriptures. Don't know if I've mentioned any of my conversations with Worsley before, he said some things that were eye-opening but I already knew most of it from my table head. He didn't allow me to tape his experiences when I met with him. I have a couple hours of cassette interviews with Grace DeCecca, Maxwell Friend and Fred Franz. (Material for a couple of public talks that I gave several times on the history of the Organization.) Arthur Worsley's info is not related to this subject. It's true that Klein, Gangas, Booth, Jackson, Barry were almost 100% with Fred Franz. Suiter didn't really care, in my opinion. You probably already know that Schroeder was able to get a couple of these same brothers (Klein and Suiter) to agree with him on the "1957 Sputnik generation" but generally they voted whatever way that Fred Franz suggested. (That wouldn't have changed 607, btw) Not sure what you mean about Ray Franz. Don't know what an "overt" view of the past is, or "blinded by friendship" rather than faith in scripture. What do you mean he "loved the creation rather than the creator"? This whole paragraph of yours seems odd. When you go on to write about absolute statements and predictions only coming to those favored by God, it's almost like you are defending Franz and accusing the Watchtower just because Ray Franz writes in his book that the Watchtower shouldn't have kept trying to make so many absolute statements and predictions. Remember that the Watchtower can still have God's favor even if imperfect men made false predictions. Jehovah is forgiving, and can use any means he wishes to get the word out. I am as embarrassed as most JWs would be that some of these absolute statements have brought reproach on Jehovah's name, but I have a feeling that, to some extent, the Watchtower's penchant for absolute statements and speculation has resulted in some good, too. It's just speculation, of course, but I was thinking that if a person has an absolute belief that the end will be here within a few months or years, they are probably more likely to take serious steps to be ready for that day, and to abandon false traditions in other doctrinal areas without being concerned about what other people think, or how many people agree with us. I sometimes wonder how urgently Brother Russell would have progressed in other areas of doctrine (being able to abandon Trinity and Immortal Soul doctrines, for example) if he hadn't felt that the end was just around the corner..
  6. Shiwiii, Let's say you are right, and there was not a specific Biblical reason. The Christian congregation always expected, until the "day of the Lord," that imperfect men would take the lead, and that the rest of us Christians would obey, unless such obedience conflicted with Jehovah's word. So we can expect dozens, maybe hundreds, of little things that could be done differently. Perhaps the more important questions, however, should be how much does it matter to us? Or, why does it matter to us? I hope you don't mind, but I will probably ramble on a bit to get out some of my own ideas on this subject. There are obviously going to be plenty of things to celebrate in life with our children, our relatives and those in the congregation. So we don't necessarily miss out on celebrations by choosing to follow the lead in this particular matter. Once or twice a year we could create an age-appropriate spiritual, physical, or mental goal of some kind for young ones and celebrate its attainment with them, and with their friends, too. Maybe that's too much work for some parents, or too much planning, when a birthday is kind of pre-planned, passive event, every time the date rolls around. Perhaps the birthday party is a more balanced way to handle regular (necessary) gift-giving and attention for multiple children when each has their own day, as it were. Maybe celebrating "achievements" would be too much attention on the child, and result in comparisons and competition. We'd have to consider not just the personalities of our children but their friends and others around him. But even if the traditional birthday party sounds fair and just, how easy is it to keep children from comparing the kinds of gifts and attention that a friend from a wealthier family would get. When we consider principles like "keep yourselves without spot from the world" some Witness parents might come to the same conclusion against birthdays, even without the reasons that we usually give each other for why we don't celebrate. In fact, there is a whole world out there of people who are not in the same situation we are in. Most brothers in Viet Nam, for example, are living under very different economic circumstances than most who are in the United States. When we reflect on being a world-wide brotherhood, perhaps we could reflect on how others are getting along in their lives and ministries, and we might think of foregoing some of the economic privileges that others aren't able to enjoy. A global perspective might make birthdays seem un-serious. I think about how the first Puritans and several generations of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians came to this country and thought birthday parties were frivolous, and forbid the celebration of Christmas -- long before Christmas was infused with so much tradition and materialism. It was more just a matter of seriousness in their Christian lives. And of course, their lives were harsher in terms of leisure time than our own, much like hundreds of thousands of JWs around the world in places where they still scrape by to eke out a living. J.F.Rutherford no doubt thought that this kind of seriousness was the only correct way for Christians to live while they were always only months away from the manifestation of Jesus Christ to bring about Jehovah's day of judgment. He no doubt thought of his own role as leading in the way one of the early "Old Testament Judges" led Jehovah's people. Was he wrong to think this way? Maybe in a lot of the details he was very wrong. But was he telling the flock to go against Jehovah? I also suspect that Rutherford actually saw the benefit in separating JWs from association with the world. If birthdays were just easily accepted as OK, without giving serious thought to their propriety, then it would be a slippery slope to unnecessary association with worldly relatives. Rutherford also didn't think Christian couples should be having children with Armageddon always only a few months away, but he also believed children should be brought up seriously. For the time that Rutherford was leading JWs, the flock was small, and things happened that could have seriously damaged opportunities for growth. He almost lost the entire Society in 1917. He almost lost everything again when Olin Moyle exposed his (Rutherford's) weaknesses as a Christian leader. There were times when the very existence of JWs was precarious, due to widespread persecution before WWII, and revolutions, and post WWI political decisions in Europe and Asia, etc. (I was told by persons who knew him well, that even Hayden Covington could have pretty much split the organization in half at one point after he was disfellowshipped, and had to be talked out of it.) Rutherford had serious, serious problems to deal with and he made leadership decisions based on the climate of the times. Rutherford always seemed to keep in mind the need to advertise and market the organization. He often asked fellow JWs to follow instructions that would make us stand out as very different from others. And this was a pattern that appeared to work, from this advertising perspective too. Children in school were quickly identified for their flag salute, holiday and birthday stance. If effect, every single JW child was witnessing to a whole school of students and teachers every day. They created curiosity that sometimes lasted a lifetime. I have never been one to say that just because something was done in the past that it should remain. That's the problem of following traditions. We should continue to rethink our position on all our teachings, constantly making sure of the more important things and holding fast to what is fine. But we shouldn't let our own traditions make the word of God invalid. And we should prioritize. But we also look for those major things on which we can easily agree. And no one should become petty in asking for a re-appraisal of decisions just because of our own preferences. Psychologically, I imagine it would be very difficult for the current Governing Body to rethink this particular position, because it would give the impression that they no longer think the end is so close, and that becoming more and more mainstream is perfectly acceptable. But I also think that most JWs would welcome such a change, because many JWs are known to celebrate birthdays in their own way anyway. JW Grandparents send gifts to their non-Witness grandchildren on their birthdays and even around Christmas season. My own parents send items to non-Witness cousins and nephews and nieces around the time of these events (because it also gives them an excuse to send a letter, or link, or publications, witnessing to them). The way such a change is made (to avoid stumbling and hurt feelings) is just to say that many Witnesses have found that they are able to participate to a limited extent in such activities, especially if it is combined with the opportunity to remind their children and their friends about how "Jehovah gives every good and perfect gift" etc. etc. etc. And a reminder that each parent, just as with anniversaries, may handle these events differently as a matter of conscience. Within a few years, the entire culture around such events changes. This particular issue will not be so easy because it will beg the question of Jesus' birthday - Christmas.
  7. This is only indirectly related to the subject of birthdays except as it relates to the issue of "creature worship." A second look at the 1951 Yearbook reveals a few more examples of this same kind of problem (at least as Brother Rutherford apparently saw it). The list of those with "special appointments" to "positions of greater responsibility" also included the Yeatts family. Anyway the point here is the first and middle names of: Hugh Macmillan Yeatts Thomas Russell Yeatts . That might be considered just a coincidence, even if you know that the H in A H Macmillan (author of "Faith on the March") stood for "Hugh". He happens to be listed in the same yearbook as "Alexander Hugh Macmillan." If that's not convincing enough, flip forward a couple more pages in the same 1951 Yearbook and see who graduated from the February 1950 Class of the Watchtower School of Gilead: Brother William Rutherford Yeatts and his wife Mrs. William Rutherford Yeatts.
  8. Your example is not valid because others evidently took naps and were not beheaded. In fact, Jonah's nap under a bottle-gourd plant is associated with the repentance and salvation of a whole city. Proverbs 23:24 You'll take afternoon naps without a worry, you'll enjoy a good night's sleep. (The Message Bible translation) Luke 8:23 On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while he was sleeping the wind began to rise. (NLT) However, it is possible to find that 100% of the references to "indoor plumbing" resulted in a violent death. Dogs were also associated with violence and evil in nearly 100% of the references to them. For information on "dogs," just go through any Bible concordance and you'll see it's true. For "indoor plumbing" this passage from Judges is the only direct reference to it: (Judges 3:20-24) Then Eʹhud said: “I have a message from God for you.” So he rose up from his throne [Heb. "seat"]. 21 Then Eʹhud drew the sword from his right thigh with his left hand and plunged it into his belly. 22 The handle went in after the blade, and the fat closed in over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly, and the fecal matter came out. 23 Eʹhud went out through the porch [Heb. "air vent"], closing the doors of the roof chamber behind him and locking them. 24 After he left, the servants returned and saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked. So they said: “He must be relieving himself in the cool interior room.” In fact, only the rich and members of royalty had the kinds of resources to throw banquets and have indoor plumbing. This no doubt is the basis for the fact that it was only kings who were celebrating birthdays. The faithful Job, as a patriarch, had resources similar to royalty, too. This may be why we see each of Job's sons, having a banquet day, and then Job showing concern for whether any of them had "overindulged." (Job 1:2-5) Seven sons and three daughters were born to him [Job]. 3 His livestock amounted to 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 1,000 cattle, and 500 donkeys, along with a very large number of servants, so that he became the greatest of all the people of the East. 4 Each of his sons would hold a banquet at his house on his own set day. They would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 After a series of banquet days was complete, Job would send for them in order to sanctify them. Then he would get up early in the morning and offer up burnt sacrifices for each of them. For Job said: “Maybe my sons have sinned and have cursed God in their heart.” That is what Job would always do. It's not impossible that those banquet days were also based on their birthdays. Whether or not Job's sons used the exact calendar day of their birth can't be known, but it is still something that these sons repeated as a "series" or a "cycle," and something that Job recognized repeatedly. Full disclosure: There is no direct evidence that Job attended these banquets, and Job's sons were also killed at some point after a series of these banquet days. A Measuring Stick? I wanted to mention, too, that I agree that the examples of John the Baptist and the account of Joseph and Pharaoh are used as a kind of "measuring stick." But I don't really believe that this was the real reason behind the birthday prohibitions that Brother Rutherford promoted. I think the real reason was to finally separate fellow JWs from following Brother Russell, who had happily promoted the celebration and tracking of birthdays. It seems that almost every Bible Student used a birthday book published by the Watch Tower called "Daily Heavenly Manna" on the outside spine, but with the title: "My Friends their Birthdays and Autographs" on the front cover. (Almost every used copy ever discovered has Brother Russell's own birthday figuring very prominently, including the two copies in the Bethel Library). Brother Rutherford was concerned about this "creature worship" but he was not that concerned with "worship" of children, but of Brother Russell himself. Although he went along with it for many years after Russell's death, he privately told A.H.MacMillan that he hated it and would get rid of it if it was the last thing he did. See the book "Faith on the March" p.122: "J.F.Rutherford . . . had another purpose. Before he left Atlanta he had determined to rid the organization of creature worship." This was a real problem, and it made the Bible Students into a kind of "cult of Brother Russell." That's easy to see if you read what the other Bible Students were saying about Russell, especially after his death. In fact, here is something Brother Russell allowed to be published about himself even before his death, in the Bible Student's Monthly, June 1915: "How Brother Russell Ranks in Greatness" If C.T.Russell had devoted his life to business, it is easy to guess that John D. Rockefeller would not now be the richest man in the world, nor would J.P.Morgan have been the prince of financiers. . . . And so the man . . . is a Napoleon of finance and business. . . . Pastor Russell . . . has remarkable mental talents of the most varied character . . . like a great poet or a Hebrew seer, it is if Isaiah and J.P.Morgan were united in one individual! . . . discrimination and analysis of a great lawyer . . . passages from his pen take their place among English classics. Another phase of his many-sided greatness is his scientific talent. . . . A mind like Agazziz and Newton. Even Brother Rutherford had joined those voices saying: "Charles Taze Russel, thou hast by the Lord, been crowned a king; and through the everlasting ages thy name shall be known amongst the people, and thy enemies shall come and worship at thy feet." - Watchtower, December 1, 1916, [Reprints p.6015.] When Brother Rutherford finally started working on this problem, he was trying to change the culture that had been the legacy of Brother Russell. It would take a while. Here are a couple of names from a portion of the 1951 Yearbook listing brothers who had been appointed to special positions at Bethel branches, or as District and Circuit Overseers ("servants"): The Yearbook introduced the list with the following statement: The Society has appointed many individuals to take up certain duties in various parts of the earth in branch homes, in circuit and district work and in missionary homes. A few of those who are placed in positions of greater responsibility and who hold special appointments from the Society are brethren whose names are listed on the following pages. ..... [p. 51] Peterson, Charles Taze Russell... Poggensee, Russell Taze... Rusk, Fred, Jr. ... Schroeder, Albert Darger [see picture uploaded with this post] I only included Fred Rusk's and A.D.Schroeder's name because just now I saw their names included on adjacent pages, and was just remembering how both of them had asked me who would be giving my wedding talk. When Bert Schroeder asked I had already agreed to have Fred Rusk to give it. (Both are now deceased.) At any rate, there are a lot of reasons to tie this teaching to the problem of the culture that had developed around Brother Russell. Certain kinds of dress and grooming were also frowned upon for the same reasons, according to Rutherford. I know that others have guessed that it was also related to Rutherford's opinion about children and his attempts to differentiate JWs from the world and help them avoid worldly associations. I'm sure all these could have been factors, too.
  9. Agreed. There is no reason that the removal of the Babylonian ruler has to sync exactly with the end of the sanctuary's desolation. The Bible doesn't speak directly of 70 years of desolation(s) on the sanctuary. In fact, it speaks of desolations and devastations and deportations of people from the land over a period that occurred many years before and even for some time after the desolation of the sanctuary. The Bible speaks of 70 years of domination of the nations by Babylon. That domination for Babylon would directly affect any desolation or devastation of the sanctuary, but there is no indication of exactly how many years any devastation of the sanctuary should last. (Zechariah, written much closer to 519 BCE, implies that the rebuilding of the Temple was about to begin, and that this was also a 70-year period following the sanctuary's destruction. That would place the destruction of the Temple closer to 588 BCE) So, verse 17 is exactly what we should expect if the 70 years for Babylon were already finished. When Babylon was no longer in power, and the Persian ruler had begun ruling, then they knew that those 70 years of a Babylonian "punisher" were already fulfilled. So it would now be time for these desolations and devastations upon the land and Temple to also be completed, either immediately, or shortly, or within 20 years -- the Bible doesn't say, exactly. Your point implies that there must be a timeline that had also been given for the sanctuary's desolation. That's possible, of course, but there is nothing in the Bible that says such a timeline, if it ever existed, had to be 70 years, or had coincide with the 70 years for Babylon. Are you thinking that there are also exactly 70 years of desolation on Jerusalem or Judea. As Jeremiah shows, the 70 years mentioned in that book are not 70 years for Judea and/or Jerusalem, but 70 years for Babylon. You also ask whether I think it is a suggestion or a fact that the first year of Darius is the first year of Cyrus. Historically, we know that Cyrus' first year of ruling the empire began immediately with the destruction of Babylon. The chronicles of Cyrus and Nabonidus fill the historical gap for us. We know Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar and the same Cyrus the Great (Persian) from historical sources. Secular chronological sources date the event and this "first" year of Cyrus empire to 539 BCE. There is no known historical person named Darius the Mede, so it could just be the name that Daniel has chosen to identify Cyrus himself, pointing out that Cyrus is descended from both Medes and Persians. If Darius is a separate person from Cyrus himself, then historians would most likely try to identify him with a former Babylonian governor who had switched allegiance to the Persians, and who had opened up the way for Cyrus to win Babylon without a fight. This would have put him in exactly the right place for the reward of being appointed as ruler of this new portion of the Persian empire under Cyrus. In either case the rule of Cyrus was primary and would have been counted immediately upon the conquest of Babylon. That would still make the 70 years end as soon as Cyrus took over, even if it took him a few months or more to appoint Darius. Here's what Wikipedia says about this identification of "Darius the Mede" based on the Babylonian era stone chronicles: On 10 October Cyrus won a battle at Opis, opening the road to Babylon, and on 12 October "Ugbaru, governor of the district of Gutium, and the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without a battle" (Babylonian Chronicle). Ugbaru is presumably the same person as the Gorbyras mentioned by the Greek historian Xenophon, a Babylonian provincial governor who switched to the Persian side. Cyrus made his entrance into the city a few days later; Nabonidus was captured and his life spared, and nothing is known of the fate of Belshazzar.[7]
  10. Just thought of something else which is completely worthless, but it's an interesting last thought, which I only add for one reason: to show just how easy it is to turn numbers into something to speculate about -- no matter how likely or unlikely, reasonable or unreasonable: Let's assume that the Watchtower is correct with the date stated in the quotation from 2012 that Eoin provided: "we infer that God made this pronouncement in 2490 B.C.E." What if this decree of Jehovah at that time was his declaration of how much more time he was going to allow before installing a Messianic solution from on high. If Jehovah was declaring that he would give them another 120 years up until the Flood, and then continue to allow Gentile nations to rule uninterrupted for a period of say, 7 times, or a total of 2,520 years in all, can you guess where the end of those 2,520 years would land? Simple: -2490 BCE +2,520 = 30 C.E. But there was no zero year, which means it ended in 29 C.E. Let's see . . . was there any Messianic solution anointed in 29 C.E.? Sorry, one more thought, that just hit me. But it goes to the same point of ridiculous coincidences among numbers if you just look at them. If Jehovah was giving 120 years before the Flood and then the remainder of the 2,520 years after the flood, then what does that remind you of? Hint: (Daniel 9:24-27) 24 “There are 70 weeks. . .“And the people of a leader who is coming will destroy the city and the holy place. And its end will be by the flood. And until the end there will be war; what is decided upon is desolations. 27 “And he will keep the covenant in force for the many for one week; and at the half of the week, he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease.. . . Don't think this is relevant? Here's the proof: what is the ratio of 120 years prior to the flood and the 2,400 years after the flood? (120 + 2,400 = 2,520). 120/2400=0.05 It's exactly .05 or 5% or 1/20th. What's the ratio of that half-a-week to the full 70 weeks? Well, half a week is how many days? 7 days divided by 2 = 3.5 days, right? And what's the ratio of 3.5 to 70? Simple: 3.5/70=0.05 or 5% or 1/20th. And for good measure what's the ratio of a shekel to a ge'rah? (Exodus 30:13) . . .Twenty geʹrahs equal a shekel. . . . So it's exactly .05 or 5% or 1/20th And can you guess the ratio of the square cubits of the floor of Noah's ark compared with the number of cubic cubits of space on the decks above? Yep! .05 or 1/20th! Anyway. Hopefully all this appears silly. This is the kind of danger that such thinking results in. Few people really recognize just how often numbers will surprise us with their seemingly "miraculous" coincidences. The flaws in such thinking are easily disregarded, just because there are some scriptures thrown into the mix. This may be how we get a wicked, vicious Gentile king in Daniel 4 to represent a non-Gentile, loving, Messianic king. This may be how we got from "7 times" to "7 x 360-days" to "2,520 365-day years" and somehow got them to start on a date that isn't even the right date for what that date is supposed to represent. There was a time when Watchtower articles printed suggestions about extrapolating dates from adding up and dividing the ages of animals that Abraham once sacrificed. I think this makes it easier to understand how men like William Miller, and Nelson Barbour, convinced thousands to pay attention to 1843, 1844, 1873, 1874, 1878, 1881, etc.
  11. This was a very popular speculation among Bethelites in the 1970's and 1980's, long before it was necessary to extend the generational lifespan beyond 70, then 80 years. But even when we were adding 70, then 80 years to 1914, this didn't reach to 1984 and 1994, respectively, because we had to account for the ability of the person born before 1914 to be old enough to understand the sign. One of the supports for 1975 was the idea that a person born in 1900 would be 14 years old in 1914, and that should be old enough to understand the sign. That person would be just exactly between 70 and 80 years old, the perfect age to fit the Psalm: (Psalm 90:10) "The span of our life is 70 years, Or 80 if one is especially strong." So, if 120 was ever seen again as a maximum lifespan, then it's not 1914 + 120 = 2034. It's really 1914 from the viewpoint of a teenager, and therefore the year 2020 could be pointed to. Then if that failed, we would finally start claiming that even an infant would be old enough, until we could reach 2034. Understanding this to be the length of Noah's preaching work from the time of that decree (assumed 20 years prior to the birth of the first of Noah's sons) until the flood is going to be a more popular speculation. That's mostly because of the verses in Matthew that say: 14 And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. . . . 37 For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 38 For as they were in those days before the Flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 and they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. A couple more thoughts I find interesting: If our date for the Flood is correct, then that verse in Psalms was written just over a millennium later. We also have the thousands of clay Babylonian banking records that let us figure the life-spans of several people from around 609 to 539. Several people lived to be 70 or 80, and there were exceptions claimed in royal Assyro-Babylonian records of a woman whose birthday was celebrated for either her 102nd or 104th birthday. It's curious that the Psalm from about 3,000 years ago, is such a recognizable truth even today (about 70 or 80 years). We know there are exceptions, and obviously the Psalmist did, too. But it's still curious that we have so few exceptions after the flood of anyone living longer than 120 years. And we also have almost no exceptions from any modern period of history of 120 year life-spans. The best documented ones that get close are often in the 110 to 115 range. But it's so rare to hear of a claim above 120 that they seem very suspect. The facts of documented history seem to support the idea that a lifespan of 120 shouldn't be ruled out as the intended meaning of Genesis 6:3. Eoin has already pointed out that we do accept the 120 years to be the amount of time from that decree until the Flood came. We just have to assume that the decree came 20 years prior to the time when Noah's children (assumed all boys) were born. That assumption isn't stated in the Bible, just as it isn't stated whether or not this is a declaration of a maximum lifespan.
  12. In the United States, or at least many parts of it, this question might not have even come up 100 years ago, because it would have been so widely recognized that "worship" and "bowing down" were closely related, but the specific meaning would have been determined by context. In many countries the remnants of this "confusion" still exists in the language. Words related to respect for authority of a husband, or a "reverend," or noble "lord," or a king, or God -- they still contain a lot of this historical overlap. In the Bible, a false God was known as Baal, but Jehovah was also referred to as Baal, and a husband could also be referred to as Baal. (Baal could mean "master" or "owner.") In many languages the words for husband still have these implications. Mister and Master are titles that have stuck. Bowing before authority was easily understood to mean different things through context. The word "worship" itself was still used until recently to refer to earthly "lords" and "kings." (Might still be used by some residents of England to refer to the Queen as "your worship.") Note this definition from the OED, under the heading "worship": I. 1.I.1 a.I.1.a The condition (in a person) of deserving, or being held in, esteem or repute; honour, distinction, renown; good name, credit. Obs. exc. arch. (Common down to 16th c.) The word "worship" in some contexts meant no more than "worthiness." In fact that's the English etymology: worth[y]-ship. Whether the NWT got it exactly right in all cases is a different discussion, but there is no question that the word always required context. Language, in this case, also changes connotations and some of the meanings are lost. So translating "worship" might have been just fine 100 years ago, and needs to be clarified now, due to obsolete meanings.
  13. But Ezra says nothing specifically about fulfilling the 70 years, right? The verses that do speak of the 70 years (Jeremiah and Chronicles) say that they were fulfilled with Babylon's dominance, and ended with the rise of Media & Persia. Very specifically, the Bible says: "the kingdom of Persia began to reign, to fulfill Jehovah’s word spoken by Jeremiah, . . . to fulfill 70 years." Ezra chapter 3:1-6 refers to three events which are not directly linked to the 70 years. One of those events, apparently most likely happened in the 7th month of 538, and possibly even as late as 537, when Jews came back to their cities, including Jerusalem. The second event is the re-establishment of offering sacrifices at Jerusalem at this same time. And the third event was the laying of the foundation of Jehovah's temple, which would not happen for nearly another 20 years. (Ezra 3:1,6) When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites were in their cities, they gathered together with one accord in Jerusalem. . . . 6 From the first day of the seventh month they started to offer up burnt sacrifices to Jehovah, though the foundation of Jehovah’s temple had not yet been laid. The Watchtower presents the same idea that you mention, and there's nothing wrong, of course, with having or considering alternatives. My point was that "Biblically," at least, we already have a clear and direct answer to the question about when the '70 years for Babylon' ended. Jeremiah indicates that the 70 years were not specifically about a length of time for the "desolations" on Jerusalem and Judea. It was a reference to the length of time when Babylon would have dominance over the other nations. Obviously, the desolation(s) on Judea were related, and would have to occur somewhere within that same period. After all, the primary reason Jehovah allowed Babylonian dominance was to teach his people the importance of faithfulness, and as a deserved punishment for their sins and the errors of their forefathers. These punishments on Judea and Jerusalem would start at some time during that period of the 70 years, but they would naturally end either at the same time or shortly after the 70 years ended. In fact, this would be the exact same explanation that the WTS gives for the same verses in Jeremiah 25:9,11 with reference to Tyre, in the Isaiah's Prophecy book. *** ip-1 chap. 19 p. 253 par. 21 Jehovah Profanes the Pride of Tyre *** Jehovah, through Jeremiah, includes Tyre among the nations . . . . He says: “These nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:8-17, 22, 27) True, the island-city 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. . . . Different nations come under that domination at different times. But at the end of 70 years, that domination will crumble. It's true that the WTS has decided to treat the domination of Judah and Jerusalem differently from Tyre, but the Tyre explanation is the only one that makes perfect sense with all the Bible accounts. (2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah and Ezra). Yes. A couple of suggestions. First, in Daniel 9:1-2, he is praying for Jehovah to restore his land. Then you added: "as the end of the 70 yr desolation had approached. Obviously although imminent, still a future event." That's not necessarily true. Nowhere is it obvious that the 70 years had not yet ended. It might have just ended exactly as defined in 2 Chronicles, because the rulership of Media and Persia had just begun. That doesn't prove anything, but notice that Daniel's concern wasn't a year or two before the end of the 70 years as defined in 2 Chronicles: 539 BCE. Note that it also wasn't a year or two after the end of the 70 years as described in 2 Chronicles: 539 BCE. Daniel's concern about the end of the 70 years happened in the very FIRST year, most likely either immediately, or just months after the ruler of Media and Persia replaced Babylon. Yet the end of those 70 years was surely imminent in 541 BCE, and according to the WTS alternative theory, it was still imminent well into 538 and part of 537. Yet, Daniel's concern about it just happens to start in the first year of the rulership of a Persian king. In fact, it's worth pointing out that if Daniel had been working on "repetition for emphasis" Daniel 9:1,2 emphasizes the point through a repetition of the fact that this was the first year of Medo-Persian empire over the Chaldean/Babylonian empire. Note: (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. Notice, then, that it's not proof, but this choice of wording by Daniel makes it easy to read the following meaning into the passage: "It was now finally the first year of Darius, a descendant of the Medes, who is also a Persian, the son of the great Persian king, Artaxerxes. And now that it was the first year of the Medo-Persian ruler -- the ruler who finally ended [the 70-year] kingdom of Babylon -- the prophecy of the 70 years could now [obviously?] be "discerned" which had fulfilled the desolation of Jerusalem." Although "discerned" or "calculated" is in the past tense, I'm not making a linguistic argument to prove that it had already passed. But I am saying that this time period could not have been discerned for sure until after a Persian ruler had begun to rule over the former kingdom of the Chaldeans. But there's more than that. The prophecy of the 70 years was not only, specifically, that Jerusalem would be restored at the end of those 70 years. The overall "70 years prophecy" was the entire range of related prophecies. It was that the Jews should be prepared to serve Babylon because Babylon will be given 70 years of domination over all the nations, and Judea can't escape devastation and desolation unless they submit completely to Babylon, and it will be the same for the other nations all around them. However, when the 70 years is over, and Judea is no longer under the yoke of Babylon, that only at that time [after the 70 years for Babylonian rule is finished] they should pray for a return to Judah and Jerusalem. Notice that a better translation of Jeremiah 29 not only proves this point, but shows why we actually had it backwards when we made those older arguments. Note Jeremiah 29:10 in the NWT, 1961 through 1984 wording: (Jeremiah 29:10) 10 “For this is what Jehovah has said, ‘In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to YOU people, and I will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing YOU back to this place.’ -- NWT, 1984 Reference Edition It was more difficult, but it was arguably still possible to see this as saying that only AFTER the 70 years were fulfilled that it was time for Jehovah to turn his attention to bring them back. But the Watchtower had argued against that position, so that Jehovah had supposedly already turned his attention toward returning them BEFORE the 70 years were fulfilled, so that, as you say above, it might be when they were re-settled in their cities, in about 537, when the 70 years were fulfilled. But now look at how this has been corrected to the point where it is now impossible to make that same Watchtower argument from Jeremiah 29:10: (Jeremiah 29:10) “For this is what Jehovah says, ‘When 70 years at Babylon are fulfilled, I will turn my attention to you, and I will make good my promise by bringing you back to this place.’ NWT, 2013 Revised Edition. By correcting the translation so that it now comes closer to aligning with the Hebrew without the former confusion (some would say obfuscation) of the prior translation, it's clear again that Jehovah turns his attention only when the 70 years for Babylon are already fulfilled. Of course, the bigger problem with this verse was that the original Hebrew says "70 years for Babylon" not "70 years at Babylon." Most modern translations understand it this way. Even a couple of the foreign editions of the NWT translated it this way in countries where linguistic expertise allowed for translation from the original language (not merely a translation of the English NWT into another language). These NWTs have been changed back to the incorrect translation of "at" corresponding to the English translation. One way to know that the word "for" was more appropriate than "at" is found in the context of Jeremiah. Note that the same idea had occurred in Jeremiah 25: (Jeremiah 25:11-12) 11 And all this land will be reduced to ruins and will become an object of horror, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.”’ 12 “‘But when 70 years have been fulfilled, I will call to account the king of Babylon and that nation for their error,’ declares Jehovah, ‘and I will make the land of the Chal·deʹans a desolate wasteland for all time. In the alternate theory you are presenting, the 70 years are fulfilled two years after the king of Babylon has been killed. But how does Jehovah call him to account two years after he was already called to account? The only suggestion that makes sense with the totality of the Scriptural references is the one that agrees with the above Bible verses, stating that it was exactly at the end of the 70 years when Babylon is called to account, and it is completely fulfilled when Medo-Persia is ruling. Daniel and Ezra are clearly referring to the same idea: that it is only after the 70 years are fulfilled that Cyrus can now make the proclamation in his first year that the Jews may return home. It is after they are fulfilled that the Jews begin praying earnestly for that return. P.S. (Cyrus was the overall king of the Persian empire, sharing the area of Babylon's former empire with the Medes. So the first year of Darius was also the first year of the empire of Cyrus. Identifying Ahasuerus as Artaxerxes, also identifies Darius simultaneously as the Persian ruler in case that had been in question. That should also cover your second point about when the proclamation in Ezra 1 occurs.)
  14. When Jesus' disciples wanted information about calculating the time when the Messianic Kingdom would start, Jesus reminded them with a kind of rebuke: (Acts 1:6, 7) 6 So when they had assembled, they asked him: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7 He said to them: “It does not belong to you to know the times or seasons that the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction. I suppose one could argue that that was then, but it might be different now. Yet Jesus said that in the end, even concerning the parousia/presence, that this statement would be just as true: (Matthew 24:36, 37) 36 “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence [parousia] of the Son of man will be. Paul also said that we have no need of any information about that time period, because, as he said: (1 Thessalonians 5:1, 2) 5 Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. So Biblically, we might be justified to believe that the date should not be important to any calculations of the Messianic Kingdom. But your specific question is still fairly easy to answer from the Bible, based especially on the verse you quoted in Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 25:11) . . .and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.. . . So, Biblically, we would expect the answer to be the exact time when the 70 yeas for Babylon ended. If Babylon was the empire that came to power around 609 BCE when Assyria fell, then we would expect those 70 years to end when Babylon fell to Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian in 539 BCE. Fortunately, we have a verse that spells it out directly: (2 Chronicles 36:20, 21) 20 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. So, it's pretty clear that the 70 years ended (Biblically) when the kingdom of Medo-Persia began to reign as the "world empire" in place of Babylon's 70-year empire. There are probably ten different ways from history and archaeology to show that this happened in 539 BCE. We accept that the king of Persia began to reign on that very night when the handwriting was on the wall in Daniel: (Daniel 5:22-31) 22 “But you, his son Bel·shazʹzar, . . . 24 So the hand was sent from him, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: MEʹNE, MEʹNE, TEʹKEL, and PARʹSIN. 26 “This is the interpretation of the words: . . . 28 “PEʹRES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.”. . . 30 That very night Bel·shazʹzar the Chal·deʹan king was killed. 31 And Da·riʹus the Mede received the kingdom; he was about 62 years old. As clear as this might seem, we don't accept it because it would make the 70 years start in 609 and end in 539. For the same reason that we changed the destruction of Jerusalem from 606 to 607 when we discovered that the 2,520 years would no longer end in 1914, we also found it necessary to do the same thing here. This 539 date would imply that Jerusalem must have been destroyed in 609, but that would make the 2,520 years end in 1912 instead of 1914. So, it has become necessary to simply change the end of the 70 years to 537 BCE. So, we give a date, instead, for a possible time when the Jews who were in Babylon to return to Jerusalem. We don't know how long this period would be, but we know from historical, archaeological records that it can take a couple months for a marching army to make that trip. We need to assume that it was two full years after Babylon's destruction for the Jews to arrive again in Jerusalem. This way 537 becomes the end of the 70 years.
  15. I see three typos, in my last post. One of them was where I even spelled "typo" wrong ("type"). None of it changes the overall point, but if there are any questions on any specifics, feel free to ask. Unfortunately, I keep clicking enter when done, and then when I come back to see what I wrote, it's too late to edit it.
  16. [Adding link to 2nd pg of discussion, since my Chrome and Firefox browsers won't link to pg.2 from the "2," "Next" or ">>" links:
      Hello guest!
    ] This answer certainly will not sit well with some, but I'm a stickler for full disclosure. In the long run, I think we do better when we're completely open and honest with everything we have learned. (1 Peter 3:15) . . .always ready to make a defense before everyone who demands of you a reason for the hope you have. (John 3:11) 11 Most truly I say to you, what we know we speak, and what we have seen we bear witness to,. . . (Matthew 5:14, 15) . . .. A city cannot be hid when situated upon a mountain. 15 People light a lamp and set it, not under the measuring basket, but upon the lampstand, and it shines upon all those in the house. (Matthew 13:52) . . .every public instructor who is taught about the Kingdom of the heavens is like a man, the master of the house, who brings out of his treasure store things both new and old.” (Philippians 1:9, 10) . . .that your love may abound still more and more with accurate knowledge and full discernment; 10 that you may make sure of the more important things, so that you may be flawless and not stumbling others up to the day of Christ; There is no support "for our use of this year archaeologically and historically speaking." What might be even more surprising is that there is also no support for our use of this year (607) even Biblically speaking. It evidently started out as a mistake in the 1800's, but we have been stuck with it ever since. I'm aware of members of the Governing Body who have said that we should just "scrap our entire chronology" and "start over from scratch." (Those are almost exact quotes from Brother Sydlik, but Brother Swingle, and R.Franz, and others were of a similar mind. I only heard it from two of them personally, but there was a time when almost half the Governing Body gave evidence that they did not believe it necessary to start the "generation of 1914" in the year 1914: D.Sydlik, L.Swingle, G.Suiter, B.Schroeder, E.Chitty, R.Franz, K.Klein. There were evidently even more members of the Writing Department who believed the same way.) The most disturbing quote I remember on the subject was from a brother in Writing: ". . . if we showed humility, we'd be humiliated." For many years, we (WTS) never thought that the 607 date was the strongest or most important method to reach 1914. In fact, 1914 had already been "proven" through several other methods. But after we discarded those other methods, the only one that still remained was the "7 times" (2.520 years), so we simply assumed that since 1914 was correct, all we had to do was subtract 2,520 years, and that would take us back to the destruction of Jerusalem. 1914-2520=-606. That's why we used the date 606 BCE for so many years -- up until 1943 and 1944. That was when we finally, formally accounted for the fact that there was no zero year between 1 BCE and 1 CE. (This is something that the Watchtower had previously questioned.) Rather than keep 606, which would mean moving the end of the 2,520 years to 1915, we naturally just kept 1914 and moved back the destruction of Jerusalem to 607 BCE. The actual date for the destruction of Jerusalem (archaeologically and historically) didn't really matter, as long as it was exactly 2,520 years before 1914. After saying all this, I should add that this should not create any doubts in the Scriptures, or the fact that we are living in the last days, or that our deliverance is getting near. It should not create any doubt about the fact that we have been provided with a full banquet of spiritual food, and should be appreciative of everything we have received. This should not reflect in the slightest on the thousands of truths we have learned about Trinity, Soul, Ransom, Jehovah's Sovereignty, Hell, Neutrality, Preaching, New Heavens & New Earth, etc., etc., etc. This is only meant as a full, true and honest answer, to the best of my knowledge, to the initial question of the post.
  17. @Cheeto I don't understand why you say Passover will never change. It's as if you believe there is only one correct way to determine when to add the leap month called "Adar II." Here is some evidence that the method is sometimes arbitrary. [BTW, I just noticed a typo in the Passover date for 2010: It was 3/30 not 4/30.] In my lifetime +/- a couple of years, according the Jewish calendar method, Passover has fallen on April 7 about 4 times. Whenever Passover fell on April 7th, it means that the month Nisan had started on March 24th, which was very close to the vernal equinox on about March 21st.. For every one of these 4 different years, the calendar NEVER added the leap month of Adar 2 at the end of that Jewish year (as an adjustment for the following year) even though, if they didn't, it would mean that the start of the month of Nisan was definitely going to slip back behind the vernal equinox in that next year. As you might expect, if Passover fell on April 9th, they also never did add it. As you might expect, if Passover fell on April 5th, they always did add the Adar II as the last month of that year. So you might get the impression that April 7th was the cut-off point for the earliest that Passover could fall before it became necessary to add the Adar II. In fact, if you check April 6th 1985, they did add it, and after Passover on 4/8/1982 they did not add it. So with just this info you would have: April 5th, ADD IT April 6th, ADD IT April 7th, DO NOT ADD IT April 8th, DO NOT ADD IT April 9th, DO NOT ADD IT So it might look like there is a uniform process that makes April 7th the cutoff, and any Passover that falls before 4/7 is an indicator that Adar II must be added to the end of that year, so that Spring and Passover doesn't come too early the next year. But here is the problem with that: April 6th, 1993 (and 1917, 1936) was a Passover date, and they did NOT add Adar II to the end of that year. April 6th, 1985 (and 2004) was a Passover date, and they DID add Adar II to the end of that year. So, although they never added after a 4/7 date, they sometimes DO and sometimes DON'T add one for a 4/6 day. Those exceptions made "Spring" start more than a month later in 2012, than it did in 1994. In other words, Passover does change. It can be more than a month later (or earlier) in some years. I think that the Watchtower acknowledged this very well all the way back in the yearly Memorial issue for 1908 where Russell said (pps. 35-36; Reprints pps 4127-8: From the foregoing it will be seen that, with every endeavor to reach exactly the date specified in their Law for the Passover, the Jews have difficulty, and often there is of necessity a choice between two days equally appropriate. However, they follow the guidance of their leaders in this matter and have a uniformity of celebration, instead of each one trying to fix the date and celebrating according to his personal knowledge, convenience or preference. And this measure of subserviency to leaders was endorsed by our Lord, who said, "The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat; whatsoever therefore they bid you observe, that observe and do." (Matt. 23:3.) The Apostle indicated the same course to the Gospel Church. (Heb. 13:17.) Two essential features of the celebration of the Passover were: (1) uniformity, and (2) that it begin as exactly as possible at the full of the moon--which symbolized the fullness of favor to Israel. So, one way of looking at it is: that by one person's reckoning the 14th of Adar (or Adar II) on one calendar is actually the 14th of Nisan on the calendar of another person. Both are equally appropriate. One uses a certain method, to keep the start of Nisan as close as possible to the vernal equinox and another uses a different method. Most years, both methods will fall on the same date, , but some years, they won't. In those years when they don't fall on the same date, they are back in sync again the following year. Neither method is due to a Biblical command or injunction; both methods were developed and turned into a pattern over time, through some trial and error.
  18. As I'm sure you already know, the whole purpose of adding a second Adar is so that Nisan continues to start as closely as possible to the vernal equinox. (Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.) When the lunar year starts slipping back behind the solar year, the Jewish method tends to correct the year with a leap month, one year before it's really necessary to meet the goal of keeping Nisan as close to the beginning of Spring as possible. So this results in a wider range of possible dates that's closer to a 5 week range of dates that includes the equinox, when it's actually possible to keep it slightly more accurately to within nearly a 4 week range of dates that includes the equinox. By correcting the year to align the equinox with Nisan a year before it was really necessary, they (the Jewish method) added the second Adar one year prior to when "Christendom's" method would have added it. But "Christendom's" method is slightly more accurate, astronomically. And it's a bit simpler to calculate, and a little more consistent. You'll notice in the last chart of my last post that Passover usually aligns with Memorial, and the 6 times that it didn't, it was always because Jewish "leap-year" Adar was a year earlier than the method we follow.
  19. @Cheeto Hi. I'll try to answer your question fairly simply. SIMPLE ANSWER The basic reason is a difference in methods for when an extra lunar month needs to be added. In general every lunar calendar must add about 1 extra month every 3 years to match back up to the seasonal, solar calendar. In fact it's actually not 1 out of every 3 (which is the same as 6 out of 18), but it's 7 out of 19. If it were exactly 1 out of 3, you probably wouldn't see much of a problem because it would be easy to always match up to the Jewish calendar. We'd always know exactly when the leap month was going to be added. But a 7 out of 19 pattern could be done several different ways. The first table below, shows only three of a dozen different methods that could be used, and every one of them would be exactly right again after 19 years. Since 1929, inclusive, we (JWs) have always followed the exact method in the "Christendom" column. (Always produces the same week as Easter.) Prior to 1929 we (JWs) always used the exact method represented in the "Jewish" column. The column in "Method 1" is just for comparison, although it's a well-documented method that has been used by many persons who find it simpler to remember a "1 out of 3" pattern for 18 years, and then correct it with an extra in the 19th year. The problem is that the method is too erratic and unnecessarily makes Spring about 5 weeks late in the 19th year. If these "leap months" are spread out more evenly, as in the "Jewish" method, then Spring will start no more than about 17 days early or 17 days late. In fact, the "Christendom" method effectively starts "Nisan 14/15" at the first full moon after the vernal spring equinox, so that the range is no more than 15 days before, or 15 days after.) Every range of 19 years in the following table should contain 7 years with 13 lunar months rather than 12. Year# Method 1 Jewish Christndm Actual Yr 1 12 lun 13 lun 12 lun 1997 2 12 lun 12 lun 13 lun 1998 3 13 lun 12 lun 12 lun 1999 4 12 lun 13 lun 13 lun 2000 5 12 lun 12 lun 12 lun 2001 6 13 lun 13 lun 12 lun 2002 7 12 lun 12 lun 13 lun 2003 8 12 lun 12 lun 12 lun 2004 9 13 lun 13 lun 12 lun 2005 10 12 lun 12 lun 13 lun 2006 11 12 lun 12 lun 12 lun 2007 12 13 lun 13 lun 12 lun 2008 13 12 lun 12 lun 13 lun 2009 14 12 lun 13 lun 12 lun 2010 15 13 lun 12 lun 13 lun 2011 16 12 lun 12 lun 12 lun 2012 17 12 lun 12 lun 12 lun 2013 18 13 lun 13 lun 13 lun 2014 19 13 lun 12 lun 12 lun 2015 20 12 lun 13 lun 12 lun 2016 21 12 lun 12 lun 13 lun 2017 21 13 lun 12 lun 12 lun 2018 MORE COMPLICATED ANSWER As you know, our calendar year is usually 365 days and sometimes 366 days, so that the average is about 365.25 days. So we divide it into months of either 28, 29, 30 or 31 days. So, our average month is therefore about 30.4 days. But if you measure each month by the time it takes the moon to cycle through all it's phases, then the average "lunar month" is 29.5 days. That means that if you start each lunar month when you see that first sliver of a "new moon," then it could be about 30 days until the sighting of the next new month, then 29 days the next new month after that, then 30, then 29, etc. But that means that by the time you go through 12 lunar months, you will have a "year" of only 354 days. (12x29.5=354) That's about 11 days shorter than a standard solar year. So if you want to stay matched up to the solar seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, WInter) you will have to add an extra lunar cycle (i.e., an extra 29 or 30-day month) about every three years. Otherwise, if you keep losing 11 days every year, then in a few years you will find yourself trying to pick summer fruits in the middle of winter, which doesn't work very well in Israel's climate, or almost any climate in the northern hemisphere. Also, if you work it out more exactly, you will see that you it isn't exactly 1 extra lunar month for every 3 years, but 7 every 19 years. But even if it was always as easy as just 1 out of 3, and the pattern repeated continually, there is still no absolute reason to count every three years from the same starting years. The one out of three method works out to mean that you follow a pattern of -11, -11, +19, (repeating), which will be explained below. But there is no reason that one the pattern could not be chosen as -11, +19, -11, (repeating), or +19, -11, -11 (repeating). It's as if in the following example, you arbitrarily picked 2018 or 2019 as the FIRST YEAR and started repeating the cycle in that year, instead of 2017. Assume the current year is correct for when it starts the month of Nisan. (2016) FIRST YEAR: Subtract 11 days to start Nisan next year (2017) 11 days, because 12 lunar months are 354 days and this is 11 days short of 365. SECOND YEAR: Subtract 11 more days to start Nisan the year after that (2018) 11 days short again, same reason. THIRD YEAR: Add 19 days to start Nisan the year after that (2019) 19 days, because 12 lunar months is still -11 (354) but you add a 30-day month (a second Adar) so that this year will be 384 days long.384-365=19; 30 minus 11 equals 19. REPEAT CYCLE for another 3 year cycle: -11, -11, +19. (Ths can work for up to 18 years before you will need an extra adjustment.) I made a table of all the Memorial dates since the Watchtower started in 1879 up to the present. The following table includes includes only the years 1997 to 2018. These can be used to check the years that were effectively given a 13th month (second Adar). These are the years when Memorial is about 19 days later in the year than the previous year, rather than about 11 days earlier in the year. I bolded them. Notice that Easter is always the Sunday after our Memorial. Passover is always within a day or two, or within a day or two, plus an entire month. YEAR MEMORIAL EASTER PASSOVER 1997 3/23/1997 3/30/1997 4/22/1997 1998 4/11/1998 4/12/1998 4/11/1998 1999 4/1/1999 4/4/1999 4/1/1999 2000 4/19/2000 4/23/2000 4/20/2000 2001 4/8/2001 4/15/2001 4/8/2001 2002 3/28/2002 3/31/2002 4/28/2002 2003 4/16/2003 4/20/2003 4/17/2003 2004 4/4/2004 4/11/2004 4/6/2004 2005 3/24/2005 3/27/2005 4/24/2005 2006 4/12/2006 4/16/2006 4/13/2006 2007 4/2/2007 4/8/2007 4/3/2007 2008 3/22/2008 3/23/2008 4/20/2008 2009 4/9/2009 4/12/2009 4/9/2009 2010 3/30/2010 4/4/2010 4/30/2010 2011 4/17/2011 4/24/2011 4/19/2011 2012 4/5/2012 4/8/2012 4/7/2012 2013 3/26/2013 3/31/2013 3/26/2013 2014 4/14/2014 4/20/2014 4/15/2014 2015 4/3/2015 4/5/2015 4/4/2015 2016 3/23/2016 3/27/2016 4/23/2016 2017 4/11/2017 4/16/2017 4/11/2017 2018 4/1/2018 4/4/2018 4/1/2018
  20. (2 Corinthians 10:9, 10) 9 For I do not want to seem as though I were trying to terrify you by my letters. 10 For they say: “His letters are weighty and forceful, but his presence in person is weak and his speech contemptible.” I understand that Don Adams saw the correspondence between Brother Rutherford and authorities and among colleagues for the first time when the Proclaimer's book was being prepared. He had hoped to have a large section on how strong and uncompromising Brother Rutherford had been in 1917 and 1918. Instead he had to scrap the idea because the correspondence and evidence showed that he was practically begging the authorities, and ready to make any possible compromise to stay out of jail. These two sides to Brother Rutherford, must have reminded Brother Adams of what Paul said about such a difference in 2 Cor 10:9,10 quoted above.
  21. It's a very good question. I'll try to give the longest answer I can think of. The simplest answer is that they watched the phases of the moon. We don't watch the moon all that closely these days, but it made for a very good calendar because every full moon to the next full moon was 29.5 days apart. So if you just started the month when the moon was "empty" and waited for that first tiny sliver of moon after that, you would call that the new month, or new moon. That was the first day of the month, and they knew that the month was going to have either 29 or 30 days, and they would typically have to alternate it, because the actual length was 29.5. So if the previous month was given 29 days, then the next month would have 30, and vice versa. The full moon happens 14.75 days after the "empty" new moon (which is half of 29.5). So, on average the 15th day of the month was a full moon. Passover was designated for the 14th or 15th of the month called Nisan, the first month of "springtime." So the simplest answer is that they waited for the first full moon after the new moon (new month) called Nisan. And I'm sure you know it gets a little more complicated than that. Here's why: A LITTLE PROBLEM They didn't actually start the new month exactly when the moon became "empty" but started it when they saw that first sliver. Well, sometimes you can't always see that first sliver on the first day, even when it's there. That's because the moon might still look completely "empty" around sunset, andbut it's hard to see, it's a difficult time to look for that first sliver, due to the typical position of the moon around sunset when there is still a lot of brightness from the sun outshining that tiny sliver. That's not too serious, however, because that sliver will definitely be there on the very next day, and if the previous month had the maximum number of days, 30, then you don't even have to look to know it's going to be there. Over time, you just learn that you can alternate the days of all twelve months 30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29 and you will be almost perfect so that every new year starts out with a 30 day month (Nisan) and ends with a 29 day month (Adar). Depending on exactly when you started counting that "new moon" sliver, you could be 24 to 36 hours past the astronomical new moon, and therefore could see a full moon anywhere from 13 to 14 days after the sliver is seen, or 14 to 15 days after the potential earliest calling of the first day of the month where a new moon was assumed. In any case, if you were off by a day one month, you'd be forced to be back on track the next month, by rotating the 29 or 30 day months, or by physically sighting the new moon phase. A BIGGER PROBLEM So the lunar calendar is hardly ever more than one day off just by keeping it in sync with the phases of the moon. But if you multiply 29.5 average days times 12 months you only get 354 days, and we know that a solar year is 365.25 days. 12 lunar months was 10+ days shy of a solar year. And the seasons will only work from a solar calendar, not a lunar calendar. And they planted by the seasons, so by the time the last winter month of Adar came around, they would see some good winter rains, moisture in the air, even some extra water in the streams fed from the higher grounds and mountainous regions to the north. So they would have already planted when the temperature and moisture conditions were best, and they almost always reap a barley harvest by the middle of the first spring month of Nisan. People in Biblical times planted by a solar calendar. If they didn't, they would start planting 10 days earlier every year, and pretty soon their crops would not get enough moisture and do terribly. By the time three years rolled around they would be an entire 30+ days (an extra month) early, and the crops would not grow correctly. In 6 years, they would be about two lunar months behind. Make no mistake, they would notice the difference in the efficiency of the crops right away: (Exodus 9:31, 32) 31 Now the flax and the barley had been struck down, because the barley was in the ear and the flax had flower buds. 32 But the wheat and the spelt had not been struck down, because they were later crops. (Ruth 1:22) . . .They came to Bethʹle·hem at the beginning of the barley harvest. (Ruth 2:23) 23 So she stayed close to the young women of Boʹaz and gleaned until the barley harvest and the wheat harvest came to an end. And she kept dwelling with her mother-in-law. At the time it was written, a Jewish person could read Ruth 1:22 through 2:23 and know almost exactly how long Ruth stayed in Bethlehem. THE SOLUTION They could come up with a system that added one extra lunar month, a thirteenth month (a "leap" month) every three years. But it turns out that even this wasn't perfect, and over time they would notice. It was really over 11 days off every year or more than 34 days and adding a 29 or 30 day month, would still leave them 4 or 5 days off every three years. Those days would add up, it wouldn't be bad after adding 1 month in 3 years, or even 2 months in 6, but by the time they had added 6 months in 18 years, they'd be nearly a month off again. The solution which works out almost perfectly turns out to be adding, an extra month again. So it's not 6 lunar months every 18 years, but 7 every 19. 7 every 19 is almost perfect. 19 years of 365.25 days is 6,939.75 days. 19 years of 354 days + 7 more months of 29.5 days is 6,932.5 days. That was rounding off, it turns out that a "lunation" is not exactly 29.5 days, but about 44+ minutes longer than 29.5 days, or three-fourths of an hour longer, each month. (And, of course, a solar year is not exactly 365.25, either, it's 365.2422.) All considered, it turns out that this extra 3/4 of an hour every month, aligns the 7 extra lunar months even much closer to a perfect 19 solar years. WHEN DID THEY ADD THE EXTRA MONTHS? Without a perfect calculator, the 7 additional months every 19 years, would have to be learned over time. 1 month every three years would have been simple, and thus 6 months every 18 would have resulted. It would have been better to throw that 7th extra month somewhere in the middle of the range of 18 or 19 years to keep the average number of days as close to the solar calendar as they could. Also, they wouldn't want to throw in the extra month back to back with a year that just had a leap month because that would obviously just put them an extra number of days off, when the differences could be smoothed out by spacing that 7th month into the mix by moving a couple of the previous 3 year intervals to 2 year intervals (for the leap month). A specific pattern would invariably develop over time. In truth, however, we don't have the records of exactly in which years the Hebrew calendar added the extra months. But we do know that, by necessity, all lunar calendars added an extra month, on average, exactly 7 times every 19 years. We have evidence from stone tablets of the nations around them to know that they were doing the same thing, and we can get a better idea of the practice of how they smoothed out those 7 extra months as evenly as possible over the 19 year cycles. It turns out, that there is a very likely explanation for how it was done in those other nations who kept a larger number of dated chronicles. (Or at least where a larger number have survived.) Even without precision astronomical instruments, it turns out to be pretty easy to figure out the exact solstices of the solar year. From this information, and in other ways too, you can also figure out, very nearly, the exact equinoxes, too. In Israel, as with almost anywhere on earth (within a wide range of latitudes), you can just watch where the sun comes up relative to your eastern-facing windows of your house, or the place where it's shadow is cast from that window to a wall on the other side. Let's say a person in the days before artificial light was easy, performed a certain chore and need maximum sun in the morning, or wanted to keep the first rays of morning sun out of their eyes, or wanted a potted plant to get maximum light all year, or wanted a certain glass ornament to shine from the morning sunlight as many days of the year as possible. All of these circumstances, would have resulted in movements of objects, chairs, tables, beds, curtains, etc. Every year those movements would follow the same patterns, and the farthest points of those necessary movements to maximize (or minimize) sunlight resulted in the marking of the solstices, and the midpoints were often the equinoxes. The northernmost or southernmost positions of the sun on the horizon, also exactly marked the solar-calculated seasons every year. How accurate could those markings be? We can get a hint by reading the book of Enoch. Many copies of the book survive, and it was written as early as 300 B.C. Writers projected astronomical knowledge onto Enoch because of the coincidence that he lived for 365 years. The same number of days in a solar year. The book of Enoch proposes a calendar that starts out at the idealized 360 days but with an extra day added to one month every quarter, or season, for a total of 364 days a year. Because this was with full knowledge of the need for "leap" days, we can also be sure that "Enoch" understood the need for an adjustment of an extra day or so every couple of years, in addition. Here's a quote: "The moon brings on all the years exactly, that their stations may come neither too forwards nor too backwards a single day; but that the years may be changed with correct precision in 364 days. In three years the days are 1,092; . . . To the moon alone belong in three years 1,062 days . . . So that the moon has thirty days less than the sun and stars. . . . The year then becomes truly complete according to the station of the moons and the station of the sun . . ." (Enoch 74:11-17 {73:13-14, 12, 16}) Enoch 74:2-6 And these serve four days, which are not calculated in the calculation of the year. 3 Respecting them, men greatly err, for these luminaries truly serve, in the dwelling place of the world, one day in the first gate, one in the third gate, one in the fourth gate, and one in the sixth gate. And the harmony of the world becomes complete every three hundred and sixty-fourth state of it. For the signs, The seasons, The years, Whenever a "leap" day is needed, it is merely not counted in the calculation of the year. This way he keeps his idealized 360 and just keeps adding the leap day every season as needed, to keep the sun's seasons aligned. The main purpose was evidently to keep the "week" more inviolable. His method had the advantage of having exactly 52 weeks in a year, and then probably only needing a "leap" week now and then instead of a leap month.
  22. @Γιαννης Διαμαντιδης, I do not know any specifics of your particular situation or the situation in your congregation. No matter what the case, Jehovah knows your heart, and no humans or organization actually holds the final word of judgment. What I can say is that I'm aware of why there was a time when we once announced the reasons for disfellowshipping or disassociation. Then it turned into "conduct unbecoming a Christian" or "so-and-so no longer wishes to be associated . . . " often with a related talk given within a week or so, designed to remind the congregation of the need to remain morally clean, and the specific worldly or immoral elements the congregation had shown vulnerability to were usually emphasized. It should be obvious why this has changed. We do not wish to embarrass the person over a specific wrong or reason that they may later wish the congregation had no specific knowledge about. Most persons disfellowshipped are somewhere in a process of repentance. The elders do not believe the process is ever perfect, but they especially do not want to create a situation where a person might regret having everyone else know what weaknesses they overcame. There are issues of fairness and justice to consider when a congregation may know all about one party in a wrongdoing but nothing about a second party to the same wrongdoing. I don't think I need to spell out all the ways that one person may be hurt more deeply due to the unfairness of allowing a different level of information for two different persons where the wrongdoing may have been equal. The other side of that coin, is the case where two persons were involved in the same wrongdoing, but one person was much guiltier than the other, yet the announcement sounds pretty much the same for both. The best solution has appeared to be the minimization of all announcements, allowing persons to keep more privacy and dignity. Perhaps in your case, you wish to "give a witness" about why you are choosing to disassociate. Because you have been a Witness, your motivation is understandable, but you are asking for an opportunity to explain yourself in ways that might be considered detrimental to the spiritual well-being of the congregation. The elders are there to take care of the spiritual interests of the whole congregation. Most persons do not join a Christian congregation to get a sermon from someone who disagrees with the teachings that they joined to hear more about. You don't go to a meeting to have your belief system torn down, but to be built up. If you feel you have important points to make, why not write a book, or write to elders, or branch personnel, or go on the Internet, so that the congregation in general will have a choice as to what kind of information they risk exposing themselves to.
  23. I should add that I first heard the above theory about the Sirhan connection from my Bethel "table head." I remember the Pasadena assembly very well myself even though I was fairly young. The theory is only about why the story gained traction around Pasadena, even after it was supposedly debunked. This was our "territory" in service and my parents tell me that it came up now and then. This is not where the story started, however. The Watch Tower's letter is correct that the initial reports came out of Israel/Jordan (and only about Sirhan Sirhan's father). But the sources might have been ignored if local Pasadena & LA stations hadn't played it up. Even if his father was one of the many Greek Orthodox Arabs in the area, the story might have come from neighbors who misunderstood a religious sign he had painted at his home that had the name "Jehovah Most High" in it, or something like that.
  24. I looked at several of your posts and some of them appear to take outdated issues, or overblown issues, and treat them as if they are currently having a direct effect on people. I think Melinda Mills pointed out that you were making an issue out of a prior incorrect view on the exact definition of porneia. But this issue would usually only have been of a practical concern for a few months before the wrong idea was corrected. (Edited to add: the issue arising from an improper understanding had been there for many years, but I'm told that it was rarely invoked, and a big issue was only being made out this for a few months, and that it was the very raising of the issue that also helped raise concerns about changing the practice.) Similar issue with being disfellowshipped over transplanted organs. I had specifically asked a person who would have known about all the decisions about disfellowshipping over that issue, and he told me it only happened a couple of times. (There is a tendency to be lenient when a person is suffering and might die from a rejection anyway. Also there was a strong belief in those days that even if a blood transfusion was not necessary for an organ transplant, that you had to agree to the possibility of accepting one, which is still a serious offense.) At any rate, what is the rush to disassociate? Can you not find love in the brotherhood? Do you personally have to think of humans as your "mediators"? I believe there is room for a lot more diversity of thought, as long as you can keep a clean conscience, and avoid causing divisions by insisting on a view that others find unacceptable. Over time, many of the views that opposers have held, have finally been accepted. We are not here strictly for a set of doctrines, we are here to find opportunities to love and care for our friends, relatives, family, and extend that same love to those related to us in the faith (our spiritual brothers and sisters).
  25. When it was announced that the Sirhans had been sponsored by the Nazarene Church of Pasadena, we were probably confused with the Nazarene Church, because JW's were the largest "church" in Pasadena in the view of many. It's because of the famous 1963 International Convention held at the Rose Bowl. (We held other assemblies there in those years but this was by far the biggest.) For California, this was about as huge as the 1950 and 1958 New York City international conventions. I lived next to Pasadena at the time, and we attended that convention. The news all around Los Angeles gave it a lot of attention. My father claims that a sister died of heat stroke there, and a couple of newspaper reporters covered the continuous stream of stretchers that brought suffering people into the first aid office. (8 day assembly with no shade in 100 degree heat.) My brother fell into one of those famous rose bush hedges planted there and had to wait for first aid with a shirt covered in blood. The first aid office was just completely overwhelmed, and my brother had what he called "tiger claw scars" whenever someone asked in later years. (Don't know if anyone made a subliminal connection, but our largest Pasadena meeting was the same year that RFK's brother was assassinated). I found something else quite interesting in the linked materials from the Bethel headquarters (branch). It's also found elsewhere, but this is one of the clearest statements that we had considered the "governing body" to be the equivalent of "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania." It says: "This is bringing letters to . . . branch offices of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (governing body for Jehovah's Witnesses) throughout the world."
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