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So if this is the basis for your belief, then probably what you'll want to do is first of all find out which bible book your foundational scripture is in. (It's Exodus by the way.) Ex 1:6 - Eventually Joseph died, and also all his brothers and all that generation. It's not a complicated scripture. Let me ask you this. If you die in 2017 and all your brothers and all your generation also die at some point, what does "generation" mean if you don't impose any weirdness on the text? Do your precise birth and death times change the fundamental meaning of the word generation? Of course there are overlaps in a "generation". The only possible way for there not to be overlaps would be for each generation to have a batch of children be born at the same minute of a certain year, and die at a simultanous minute of a later year. But does your grandfather suddenly become part of your generation just because your life overlapped with him? Does that overlap of a few years between you and your brothers give latitude to distort the language to allow for President Kennedy to be of your generation even if your life overlapped with him?
Looking at today's scripture text, I see that there is a fairly good reference to the concept of "core doctrines" in the commentary. Some have questioned whether this concept of core doctrines is correct, with the alternative being that we should accept ALL doctrines, great and small, with equal vigor. In other words, we should be ready to die for the our current teaching concerning "whether people of Sodom would be resurrected" just as strongly as we should be ready to die for the doctrine of the Ransom. The day's text is about the resurrection, and the commentary speaks of the importance of including this among our key doctrines, as if it might not have been "up there" with the rest. *** Text for Tuesday, December 10, 2019 *** What are the key teachings of your faith? Surely you would stress that Jehovah is the Creator and Life-Giver. You would likely mention your belief in Jesus Christ, who died as a ransom. And you would happily add that an earthly paradise is ahead, where God’s people will live forever. But would you mention the resurrection as one of your most cherished beliefs? We have good reasons to include the resurrection as a key teaching even if we personally hope to survive the great tribulation and live on earth forever. The resurrection is central to our faith. Had Christ not been resurrected, he would not be our ruling King, and our teaching about Christ’s rule would be in vain. (1 Cor. 15:12-19) However, we know that Jesus was resurrected, and we hold firm to our belief in the resurrection. Note that the text reminds us a few things that the great crowd, perhaps, do not get reminded of enough: We might die. The great hope is that "You May Survive Armageddon into God's New World." But since the book of that title came out, most of us who studied that book as JWs are now dead. The key teachings mentioned above are therefore: Jehovah is the Creator, Jesus' Ransom, Living Forever in an Earthly Paradise The Resurrection The Teaching about Christ's Kingdom I would agree that these are definitely the core teachings. Of course that final one might be a nod to "1914" as a key teaching, but it is worded here in such a way that no one could dismiss Christ's Kingdom as a key teaching. This is true whether one focuses on the Kingdom preaching beginning in 29 CE through 33 CE, or the Kingdom's beginning in 33 when Christ began to rule as king (1 Cor 15, Colossians 1, Acts 2, Revelation 1, etc.), or the historical outworking of the Kingdom with renewed emphasis on preaching since WWI, or the focus on what that Kingdom will bring to the new heavens and new earth. But the fact that 1 Cor 15 is quoted above as the context to the teaching about Christ's rule, and that Paul goes on in verse 25 to indicate that "sit at my right hand" is the equivalent of "rule as king" tells me that 1914 might have been left off on purpose. (Because Jesus sat at God's right hand in 33 CE., therefore he began ruling as king in 33 CE. --1 Cor 15:25) That's an easy solution to all the current difficulties and contradictions in the 1914 teaching. But it's not the "difficult teaching" I had in mind. If you look at the text through the Watchtower Library, you will also see that it is somewhat related to the material for the Midweek meeting (December 9-15), which starts out with a discussion of Revelation 11. *** Text for Tuesday, December 10, 2019 *** TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD • “‘Two Witnesses’ Are Killed and Brought Back to Life”: (10 min.) Re 11:3—“Two witnesses” prophesy for 1,260 days (w14 11/15 30) Re 11:7—They are killed by “the wild beast” Re 11:11—The “two witnesses” are brought back to life after “the three and a half days” I'll explain later today.
Everything we read about the "70-Week" prophecy reported in the book "Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy!" (Chapter 11) is worthy of attention and demonstrates how accurate and reliable the word of God is even when pronouncing prophecies very distant in time. The historical accuracy and the numerous Scriptural references that gave weight and authority to the whole speech were also evident. Anyone who approaches the Word of God without preconceptions can not but be struck by this demonstration of power and wisdom on the part of God. The explanation of the 70 weeks is unexceptionable but can be said to be the same as other prophecies? What about those calculations on which many of us have based the hopes of a lifetime and that clashed with the criticism of the majority? We are talking about 1914. Is this also a prophecy of Daniel? Was this also treated with the same marvelous accuracy of the seventy weeks we have just read? Although it may not be easy, we try to be truly objective because understanding or not understanding the prophecy, like the rest of God's Word, can make much difference to our eternal future - John 17: 3; 2 Thessalonians 1: 8 WHAT DID OF 1914? Â The book "Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy" on pages 85 to 97 explains in detail the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the 7-time prophecy asserting that it indicates the coming of the Kingdom of God in 1914. It would therefore be profitable to take the book and compare it with what will be read below. Does Nebuchadnezzar's dream really prophesy the coming of the Kingdom of God in 1914? Â THAT'S IT? Let's try to examine what is written in the book without prejudices. At a first reading it seems that Jehovah God wanted to give a lesson of humility to Nebuchadnezzar, which happened. The "seven times", at least for him, were seven years and this is confirmed by the whole story. Reading all this without preconceptions, it does not seem that we should look for other explanations more or less hidden. However, let us take the thesis that "the tree indicates a dominion and a sovereignty much greater than those of the king of Babylon. It symbolizes the universal sovereignty of Jehovah, the King of the heavens, especially with respect to the earth ". This means, first of all, that the Kingdom of God is comparing, in a certain way, to the kingdom of Babylon and this strides with many biblical passages describing Babylon as the greatest enemy of God's people. It also means that the "vigilante" (ie an angel of Jehovah) decides to overthrow the Kingdom of God and this is, to say the least, strange. Some will object that we must not look for similarities in every aspect of the prophecy but also decide which part of the prophecy must have a second fulfillment and which one could be arbitrary enough. After all, we have no other scriptural references to show us which details to focus on and which to leave out. So it is being said that the prophecy of the tree applies entirely to Nebuchadnezzar while only a small part would apply to the Kingdom of God. For the prophecy of the "seventy weeks" we did not need to break the prophecy to try to understand who was applied or if it applied to more than one person because the subject was clear and recognizable from the beginning. On the contrary, all the 7-day prophecy is built on a single verse that is what it says ... "The tree grew and became strong, and its same height finally reached the heavens and was visible to the end of the whole earth" (Daniel 4:11). Meanwhile, the writing says that the tree "becomes visible" to the end of the earth and not that "embraces the end of the earth" and the meaning is very different. The aforementioned book says: "the great tree represents the 'domain that reaches the end of the earth', which embraces the whole realm of mankind. Thus it symbolizes the universal sovereignty of Jehovah, particularly in relation to the earth. - Daniel 4:17 ". "Reaching the end of the earth" means that it extends the domain to the end of the earth while "being visible to the end of the earth" means that it is known, famous. AnyhowÂ… is not it a bit fragile, let's say risky, to build a series of prophecies (all linked together) on this single explanation? Note that the specification "particularly in relation to the earth" is due to the fact that the universal sovereignty of Jehovah is, indeed, universal, for which the tree should have been seen not only in the whole earth but throughout the universe. By specifying, instead, "in relation to the earth", we can exclude the skies from the vision and take the application for good. Anyway, we should ask a question. Is the fact that the tree reaches the heavens or the end of the earth itÂ’s a demonstration or even an indication of the fact that we are talking about the Kingdom of God? We always leave the Bible to enlighten us. Notice what Jehovah told Ezekiel in reference to the Pharaoh. Ezekiel 31: 1-8 says Â… Â“In the 11th year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, the word of Jehovah again came to me, saying: 2Â Â Â“Son of man, say to Phar?aoh king of Egypt and to his hordes,+Â‘Whom are you like in your greatness? Â 3Â Â There was an AsÂ·syr?iÂ·an, a cedar in Leb?aÂ·non,With beautiful branches like a shady thicket, lofty in stature;Its top was among the clouds. Â 4Â Â The waters made it grow big, the deep springs of water caused it to grow high. Streams were all around where it was planted;Their channels watered all the trees of the field. Â 5Â Â That is why it grew taller than all the other trees of the field. Its boughs multiplied, and its branches grew longBecause of the abundant water in its streams. Â 6Â Â All the birds of the sky nested in its boughs,All the wild animals of the field gave birth under its branches,And all the populous nations were dwelling in its shade. Â 7Â Â It became majestic in beauty and in the length of its branches,For its roots went down into abundant waters. Â 8Â Â No other cedars in the garden of God+ could compare to it. None of the juniper trees had boughs like it,And none of the plane trees could match its branches. No other tree in the garden of God could rival its beautyÂ”. Do we note some similarities with the vision of Nebuchadnezzar? Both are compared to tall and mighty trees. Both reach high heights, up to the sky in fact the expressions "reach the heavens" or "reach the clouds" are equivalent - Compare Job 22:14; Isaiah 14:14; Daniel 7:13 Of both we notice the big difference with the other trees. Of both it is said that all the flying creatures and all the wild beasts find food and shelter. Now if we apply the principle that the tree that "reaches the clouds" must represent the Kingdom of God, then even the Egyptian empire should be an antitype of the Kingdom. Unfortunately, however, in this story there is no mention of the "times" and consequently it is not possible to count anything. If you think it's ridiculous that the Egyptian empire will represent the Kingdom of God, why should it be acceptable to the Babylonian empire? Jehovah goes on to say Â“Â“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: Â‘Because it* became so tall, lifting its top among the clouds, and its heart became arrogant because of its height, 11Â Â I will hand it over to the mighty ruler of the nations.+ He will surely act against it, and I will reject it for its wickednessÂ”. The Pharaoh was exalted, just as Nebuchadnezzar did, and for this reason God decided to humiliate him - Matthew 23:12 Nebuchadnezzar escaped with seven years of madness while Pharaoh's empire was besieged. Also this verse remarks the fact that God takes away and gives "the kingdom to whom he wills" (and in this case He gave the kingdom of Pharaoh to the "despot of nations"). Ezekiel 31: 12-14 continues Â… Â“And foreigners, the most ruthless of the nations, will cut it down, and they will abandon it on the mountains, and its foliage will fall in all the valleys, and its branches will lie broken in all the streams of the land.+ All the peoples of the earth will depart from its shade and abandon it. 13Â Â All the birds of the sky will live on its fallen trunk, and all the wild animals of the field on its branches.+ 14Â Â This is so that no tree near the waters should grow so tall or lift up its top among the clouds and that no well-watered tree may reach up to them in height. For they will all be given over to death, to the land down below, along with the sons of mankind, who are going down into the pit.Â’. Even this tree is cut down and humiliated (Jehovah will do this through the king of Babylon). Because of the many similarities with the kingdom of Egypt, are we really certain that the tree that "reached the heavens" refers to the Kingdom of God? Â When we talk about 1914, are we really like the Bereans? Or are we "Bereans" only when we have to refute the doctrines of Christianity? Â There is another interesting detail that should make us reflect. The Bible compares the heavens to governments, be they human or celestial. Applying this concept to the tree that reaches the heavens and whose other trees do not stand comparison with it, it would simply mean that this tree has the kingdom over the other (smaller) kingdoms and of Babylon the Great is said to have " the kingdom over the kings of the earth "- Revelation 17:18 The only legitimate parallel that you can do with Babylon, without fear of taking corners, is related to Babylon the Great because it is the parallelism that makes the Bible. Indeed, all the world empires mentioned in the Scriptures had, for a time, the kingdom over the other kingdoms. Cyrus, in fact, said of himself ... "I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, legitimate king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four extremities (of the earth), son of Cambyses (Ka-am -bu-zi-ia), great king, king of Anzan, nephew of Cyrus ,. . . descendant of Teispe,. . . of a family (that) has always reigned ". (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p.37). Undoubtedly humility was not a characteristic appreciated by the Persians as well as by the Babylonians but in fact the kingdom had power over the other known kingdoms (so to be called "king of the four ends of the earth") and so it could be said that its height had reached the heavens and was visible or known to the ends of the earth. In the story of Ezekiel and in that of Daniel there is no reference, just anyone, to the Kingdom of God, on the contrary ... both accounts mention a judgment from God on enemy nations, proud and violent. Any chronological calculation should respect the subject in being and in fact this part of the Scripture is very different from what is said about the "seventy weeks" - Daniel 9: 24-27 In the account of Daniel chapter 9, one speaks clearly of the Messiah (see Daniel 9:25) and it is not necessary to read what is not written. Anyone who wanted to be polemical could discuss the start date from which to count the "weeks" or even the adduct method * (one day for a year) but certainly we can not discuss the subject in existence (the Messiah). It could also be absurd to discuss who the Messiah really was (which Jews are still discussing) but certainly we can not argue that Daniel chapter 9 speaks of the arrival of the Messiah! Instead, Daniel chapter 4 speaks of Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom, while all the "understanding" concerning the Kingdom of God is built on four lines in the book "Pay attention to Daniel's prophecies!" That read: "But the great tree represents the domain that reaches the end of the earth, which embraces the entire kingdom of mankind. Thus it symbolizes the universal sovereignty of Jehovah, particularly in relation to the earth. - Daniel 4:17 "(chapter 6, page 87 of the Italian edition of the book). Does not this seem like a very firm statement with a very weak base? Let us try not to tell Daniel 4:17 what he does not really say because it is enough to know the basic rules of grammar so as not to be distracted by the subject. The subject is Nebuchadnezzar and God makes him understand that, because of the fact that he is exalted, he would have taken away his kingdom and given it to whoever He had wanted (exactly as He did to Pharaoh). In practice the one who really rules is the Creator and the other kingdoms exist only because He allows it - Compare Romans 13: 1 So there is no reason to believe that the tree (that is, one of the many governments that Jehovah has permitted in the history of mankind), actually represents the Kingdom of God. If someone wants to imply that the fact that God mentions His dominion is indicative that the tree itself represents His dominion (and is an incredible semantic acrobatics) then we can take the story reported in 2 Kings 19: 14-19 and do it same reasoning. Â“HezÂ·eÂ·ki?ah took the letters out of the hand of the messengers and read them. HezÂ·eÂ·ki?ah then went up to the house of Jehovah and spread them* out before Jehovah.+ 15Â Â And HezÂ·eÂ·ki?ah began to pray+ before Jehovah and say: Â“O Jehovah the God of Israel, sitting enthroned above* the cherubs,+ you alone are the true God of all the kingdoms of the earth.+ You made the heavens and the earth. 16Â Â Incline your ear, O Jehovah, and hear!+ Open your eyes,+ O Jehovah, and see! Hear the words that SenÂ·nach?erÂ·ib has sent to taunt the living God. 17Â Â It is a fact, O Jehovah, that the kings of AsÂ·syr?iÂ·a have devastated the nations and their lands.+ 18Â Â And they have thrown their gods into the fire, because they were not gods+ but the work of human hands,+ wood and stone. That is why they could destroy them. 19Â Â But now, O Jehovah our God, please save us out of his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are God, O Jehovah.Â” Hezekiah knew very well that Jehovah was "the true God of all the kingdoms of the earth" and he prayed that Sennacherib would be stopped in his intent to destroy Jerusalem. We know very well what was the answer of Isaiah which last part reads Â… Â“Because your rage against me+ and your roaring have reached my ears.+ So I will put my hook in your nose and my bridle+ between your lips,And I will lead you back the way you came.Â” - 2 Kings 19:28 If we did the same reasoning as for chapter 4 of Daniel, then we might suppose that the "reign of Sennacherib" was also an antitype of the kingdom of God because he too had to learn (at his own expense) that Jehovah is "the true God of all. the kingdoms of the earth "or, in other words, "dominates over all mankind ". Unfortunately, even in this story there are no numbers, days, weeks or months to be calculated and therefore no reason to read "the coming of the kingdom of God" even where no mention is made of it. Is it possible that the strong desire to see the prophecies fulfill has influenced the intention and therefore pushed to read what was not actually written? This means that if you really want to see a second fulfillment of the story reported in Daniel chapter 4, you should respect the subject in being and that is Babylon. It is likely that the story of Daniel is simply telling the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar and that the "seven times" mean only seven years but we can not be categorical. In this regard it is useful to reflect on the fact that even the humiliation of the Pharaoh, reported in Ezekiel, could have a second fulfillment as Jehovah says that he will "shake the nations" and this could be a reference to the Armageddon war. Â So, without fixing ourselves too much with a specific date, in case the story of Daniel wanted to show us a second fulfillment of the prophecy, the report is actually saying: "Babylon will fall, will remain inactive for seven times and then rise again". This can only bring our mind back to the last mention that the Bible makes of Babylon - Revelation 17:5 The clues about Babylon the Great brought us to the nation of Israel so the question we should ask ourselves is ... "From what year we should start counting the 2520 years (ie 360 * 7) until we see the rebirth (if any) of Babylon? " From the story of Daniel the possible dates from which to count the seven times are two: 1) Since Nebuchadnezzar has had the vision or has fallen into "misfortune" (in fact, Daniel says "the tree is you" - Daniel 4: 20-22) 2) From the death of Nebuchadnezzar (if Nebuchadnezzar represents the kingdom of Babylon, his death is the moment when the tree is "knocked down" but it is to be noted that there is no reference to this in the narration of Daniel who, indeed, he says that the kingdom would be assured - Daniel 4:26) As far as the first hypothesis is concerned, it is impossible to have an accurate date because neither the Bible nor the secular history tells us in which year Nebuchadnezzar was expelled from his kingdom. This happened, obviously, after 597 a.E.V. (year in which Nebuchadnezzar brings the first Jewish prisoners to Babylon according to the secular date, there is a difference of 20 years with that of the slave who, in fact, puts 617 a.E.V.) and within 570 a.E.V. (if Nebuchadnezzar dies in 562 BCE - always according to the secular date - and the period of "captivity" lasts 7 years and the kingdom is returned to him presumed to have reigned for at least a year, 570 is the last useful year) . However in the first four chapters of Daniel we mention Daniel, Sadrac, Mesac and Abednego first as children (Daniel 1: 3, 4) and later as robust men (Daniel 3:12, 27) and all this before Nebuchadnezzar has the famous dream tree. This means that, from their deportation until the day when the king erected the image of gold, at least 15, 20 years passed. So if the Jews came to Babylon in 597 a.E.V. but they pass 20 years before the construction of the golden idol and having taken for good the secular date (562 a.E.V) it is possible to restrict the period from 577 a.E.V. up to 570 a.E.V. Obviously they are only estimates but the important date is the maximum time limit (570 a.E.V) so if from the deportation until the construction of the image had passed 15 years instead of 20, the starting date would be 582 a.E.V. but the last possible useful date would always be 570 a.E.V. The eventual rebirth of Babylon, if Daniel is talking about this, would have happened between 1943 E.V. (2520-577) and 1950 E.V. (2520-570). To reinforce this hypothesis there would also be the fact that the narration of his expulsion is the last story reported to Nebuchadnezzar. Few verses later, in fact, we no longer speak of him but of Baldassarre (Daniel chapter 5). It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that Nebuchadnezzar had the vision in the last years, perhaps during the last decade of his reign. Â The second hypothesis concerns the death of Nebuchadnezzar, which takes place, according to the secular sources, in 562 a.E.V. According to the slave, in 582 a.E.V. (see the book "Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy" chapter 7, page 99). Counting 2520 years we arrive at 1958 E.V. in the first case and to 1938 E.V. in the second case. Â "Babylon will fall, remain inactive for seven times and then rise again" Â What does recent history tell us? If, as we have seen, Babylon the Great is the nation of Israel, this would corroborate the first hypothesis. The first hypothesis places the rebirth of Babylon between 1943 and 1950. Indeed, the "resurrection" of Israel took place in May 1948. Â Knowing the fixation of human beings for dates and calculations, however, it is prudent to pay attention to the most important things. The secular dates can not be secure, based on findings and comparisons more or less incomplete, and certainly we can not base our faith on this - 2 Corinthians 5: 7 What would happen if the 597 a.E.V., as well as 607 or 537 or any other date on which we based much of the biblical prophecies (without there being a real reason for doing so) tomorrow proved to be completely wrong? The consequences could be very serious and not just from a human point of view - Amos 3: 1, 2 We must not take Jehovah's mercy for granted, so we must be cautious in our statements. Since we have no certainty that the "seven times" do not simply represent seven years, we should not lose ourselves in these speculations. Is not the most important thing to understand the identity of Babylon the Great? Those who have truly studied the Bible without preconceptions have understood that Babylon the Great is indeed Israel and this has understood it regardless of dates and calculations. This is a crucial aspect of prophecy because it is the clues that guide us in the subjects and times in which we are living, such as road signs, and not the calculations - Compare Matthew 24:32, 33 and 2 Timothy 3: 1-5 and do a contrast with Matthew 24:36 There is no temporal indication for the killing of the two clothed witnesses (see Revelation chapter 11) but we know that they are revealed at the end of the war. We know that the city called "Sodom and Egypt" is Babylon the Great, hence Israel, and as a result we also know which nation and events to watch carefully. That the Bible actually prophesises the year of his "resurrection" or not, is certainly interesting but not fundamental for those who believe that it is indeed the inspired Word of God. Fundamental, if anything, will be "get out of it" when the UN prepares to destroy it. Â * However the Bible confirms the "one day for a year" method and also that this was the same method used by God's people - Ezekiel 4: 6; Luke 3:15 ** The Bible allows us to be "fully competent" then all the speeches made on 607 a.E.V. pro and contra, they are absolutely useless. Nebuchadnezzar's dream, as we have seen, has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God Â Â