Okay, she and I finally went to the library together and researched this. Every encyclopedia we pulled off the shelf clearly pointed Nebuchadnezzar's reign as starting in 605 B.C.E. and the destruction of Jerusalem at 586/7 B.C.E.. She could not understand this so she took me to her mom's house so we can see what the WT had to say because her mom has an extensive library of WT literature.
As we were looking at the literature, her mom asked if she could join in what we were researching and asked if she could help. I said, "You sure can." As I felt that the truth would shine through on this research. Then her dad joined in. They wanted to pull out additional WT literature (namely the Insite books) and tried to show us the WT chronology. My wife, by herself, told her parents that the events in these books paralleled the events in the library's encyclopedias with the exception of the dates. I asked how did the WT get the date off by twenty years? Her father and mother asked did I account for no year zero. This doesn't apply since none of the dates cross 1 B.C.E. and 1 C.E.. Her father tried to be clever stating that the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign and the 11th year of Zedekiah's reign is like my wife and I being married for 6 years and they being married for 28 years. I told him, yeah Zedekiah began his rule on 597 B.C.E. and Nebuchadnezzar began his on 605 B.C.E. so you add 19 years to 605 B.C.E. and 11 years to 597 B.C.E. you get 586 B.C.E.. Where does the WT get 607 B.C.E. from? I then stated, "Because if 607 B.C.E. is wrong...." and they both immediately and matter of factly said, "No, it is not." Then I asked, "Well how come no encyclopedia agree with this chronology?" They started questioning what encyclopedias did we use. Well let's see, a Bible interpreters dictionary, Catholic encyclopedia, and the Encyclopedia Brittanica to name a few, among others.
At this point, they gave up and called in 'reinforcements' by directing us to one of the elder's who apparently 'researched' this information and apparently had the answer. We talked on the phone for a few minutes and he agreed to meet with us the next day. Had to admit that I had a certain level of apprehension about it as I did not know what to expect. Was he going to tell my wife or her parents that I am under the influence of Satan and trying to pry her from the 'truth?'
Well, we met with him and he turned to, of all things, the Insite book and began explaining how 539 B.C.E. was arrived at and how the WT and secular historians agree with this. I showed him the kings list and the number of years they had each reigned totalling 66 years and did the math. The inescapable 586 B.C.E. came back. Not to be detered, he began his long winded discussion concerning how the kings list could be suspect and how the Bible speaks on another king besides Nabonidus (and not in the list) to have reigned in 539 B.C.E. saying that secular historians were not taking the Bible into account because no evidence was found to prove the Bible. I have to admit, this kind of threw me since I wasn't expecting this and I told him that I need to look into this some more.
As the conversation was winding down, he and I started talking about other theologies that apparently we do not agree on. The deity of Jesus Christ especially. I asked him, "How can Thomas refer to Jesus as 'My Lord and My God' if Jesus wasn't God just like His Father?" In the original greek, this passage of scripture even has the definite article to use the JW's favorite argument to support their translation of John 1:1. Can you believe that this man actually suggest that Thomas was startled and was saying it as if we say "Oh My God!" because it had the exclamation point? I thought the WT had abandoned this argument? My response, "I cannot even bring myself to say, 'Oh My God' in front of my pastor. I cannot imagine Thomas, a devout Jew, saying this in front of Christ Himself." Of course, he tried to argue that how we define the phrase "Oh My God" is not the same as how they may have done it back then. Hmmmmmmmm.... The original greek has no punctuation, I wonder how the translators saw fit to make it an exclamation?
Anyway, back to the topic, there are some questions I have and I see now that I need to dig deeper to find the answer. I could not help but to think that this man is may be scholar who posts here on the network. But I find myself with a few perplexing questions.
- If there is a king mentioned in the Bible that is not a part of the King's list but should be, why is it that Christian churches also accept 586/7 B.C.E. for the destruction of Jerusalem? I am not buying the notion that the churches of Christendom are okay with the idea that secular historians are discounting the Bible in helping to determine this year. There's got to be an explanation for the discrepency.
- According to the elder, the WT took 539 B.C.E. and subtracted 70 years from this date to arrive at 607 B.C.E. by taking into account that it took the Jews 2 years to return home from Babylon? How can they be certain about the 2 years? Is this mentioned in the Bible?
- When I first told him about 586 B.C.E. he naturally said that the time between 586 and 539 is only about 50 years, how can 586 be correct if the Bible states that 70 years is suppose to pass? My response was that if you take into account the destruction of the temple in 586 and it's being rebuilt in 516 (515 according to one encyclopedia) that easily accounts for the 70 years. He then states that the prophecy did not make mention of the destruction and rebuilding of the temple. But if that is so, why are the encyclopedias saying this while the WT insists on its own chronology?
- I personally believe that truth is objective as long as you're being objective in searching for it. When I first heard that Christ was not born on 12-25, I researched it and found that no respected source would teach that 12-25 is Christ's birthday. Therefore I had to adjust my beliefs accordingly as the facts overwhelmingly show that 12-25 is not His birthday and that the celebration did indeed come from pagan customs. In other words, the WT got this fact right. Why is it that the WT insists on sticking with 607 B.C.E. when it appears that no respected source outside of the WT concurs? It is hard for me to accept that they alone have it right and everyone else has it wrong. After all, what motive would secular sources have for publishing 586 B.C.E.?
The elder stated that 'some guys in Europe' were calculating 1914 based on 607 B.C.E. and the 2520 years of the gentiles times at about the same time as Charles Russell. Since he said that he read the proclaimers book I did not bring up the subject of pyramidology as I did not want to make too many waves and if he did read it thoroughly, he should have at least seen where it was mentioned in that book. I did ask him, though, what exactly was Charles Russell expecting to happen in 1914. He appeared to have dodged the question and stated that Russell did not know exactly what to expect that year. Interesting since my research showed that Russell clearly expected Armagheddon to happen that year. Appears to me that there is a strong motive on the WT's part to hold on to 607 B.C.E.. I wonder if he is aware of what Raymond Franz said concerning the time when the governing body was considering moving the date from 1914 to 1957 to correspond with Sputnik? I did not ask him this.
In conclusion, something is not adding up and I truly believe that the WTS will quietly drop the 1914 teaching entirely. It is not a question of IF, it is a question of WHEN.