YoYo: proof?

by cynicus 49 Replies latest jw friends

  • YoYoMama

    AlanF, I would like to make a comment on the scriptures in 2 Chronicles:

    : 2 Chronicles 36:20, 21 gave the total years of captivity in Babylon as 70 years.

    No, it does not. It says that the Jews "were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia", and that "all the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete." The scripture does not directly equate a period of captivity with a 70-year period, although the language is consistent with such a view.

    This is true, but verse 21 says “to fulfill Jehovah’s word by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.”

    So the 70 years end when the land is no longer desolated. When the Jews arrived in Jerusalem in 537 BCE is when the land was no longer desolated.

    This understanding matches with the next two verses.

    Daniel also understood the 70 year prophesy that way. Daniel 9:2 says “in the first year of his reigning I myself, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, [namely,] seventy years.”

  • YoYoMama

    AlanF, cynicus, and dubla:

    I have two questions for you. If it is true that Jerusalem fell in 586 BCE, then how am I to understand the fulfillment of Daniel's prophesy in Chapter 4?

    Secondly, what is your understanding of the meaning of the "appointed times of the nations". When did it start and when did it end?

  • LDH


    You asked:

    how am I to understand the fulfillment of Daniel's prophesy in Chapter 4?
    I ask, IF Jesus is your Lord and Savior, why are you so interested in understanding writings that took place THOUSANDS of years ago? Do not Jesus' two rules (love God your father, love your neighbor as yourself) pretty much sum up Christianity?

    Why do fundies have such an obsession with figuring out DATES?!?!?!
    Are you trying to prove yourself righteous? Will these 'dates' help you in your quest for enlightenment?

    Why is it so important that you believe the Society's version of events?


  • cynicus
    What sets 539 apart from other dates agreed on by mainstream historians?

    539 is an absolute date. 539 is also a date where sacred and secular historical events coincide. Other dates, like the 586 date for the fall of babylon does not fall into that category.

    I take it that you mean by 'absolute' the meaning 'Not to be doubted or questioned' (which is how my dictionary defines it). By itself that doesn't explain anything about why 539 would be an undoubtable or unquestionable date. By calling it absolute I think it should be obvious and completely clear why this date is undoubtable or unquestionable. It is also interesting that the Watchtower society stopped using the term 'absolute date' in 1971. But we'll get back to that later.

    So far you have provided two reasons:

    1) the Nabonidus chronicle;

    2) secular historians, of which you mentioned Diodorus, Africanus, and Eusebius.

    You statement that '539 is also a date where sacred and secular historical events coincide' is not relevant to this question since the arrival at is only 'absolute' in secular sense and not in sacred sense. There's nothing in the sacred history that by itself gives us an 'absolute' reference. The sacred history refers to a secular person, in this case Cyrus. The timeframe within secular history for this person is subsequently derived from secular data alone. Once this datum has been established it is assumed to be valid as well in the sacred history, and by some called 'absolute'.

    But it is very important to understand that the fact that 539 may be called 'absolute' IS COMPLETELY BASED ON SECULAR DATA. Therefore your statement "It is the Bible or historians" leaves a lot to be wished for. Your 'Bible' by itself doesn't carry a single absolute datum. Events from its history can at best be called 'absolute' due to SECULAR DATA. So a more accurate description of your choice would be 'it is historians or historians'. But I digress.

    Do you know how 539 BCE is calculated? You mentioned the Nabonidus chronicle. Exactly HOW does the Nabonidus chronicle point to this year?

    The date is calculated by astronomical observations.

    The quoted translation (of ANET) by itself is interesting. It mentions the Babylonian months of 'Tashritu' and the month 'Arahshamnu'. The part you quote however, doesn't contain any reference to years, but only to months. The number 539 is not mentioned anywhere, which is logical since it refers to a calendar that was invented ages after that point in time. So there needs to be some kind of reference on this Nabonidus chronicle that refers to something astronomical. Well, I can be short about that: there isn't.

    The part that describes the year for the month of 'Tashritu' is damaged and illegible. If 539 is correct there should have been a reference to the seventeenth (17th) year of Nabonidus. But let's assume that this text was indeed legible, what would the Nabonidus chronicle by itself tell us? It tells that Babylon was captured on the 16th day of Tashritu in the 17th year of Nabonidus. Period. There are no astronomical observations on the Nabonidus chronicle.

    However, it is very important that The Watchtower has told its audience from 1952 onwards the following:

    This date is made Absolute by reason of archeaological discovery and deciphering of the famous Nabunaid Chronicle, which itself gives a date for the fall of Babylon
    The Watchtower February 1, 1952, p. 94.

    That the above statement is misleading, not to say untrue, was acknowledged some twenty years later when the Watchtower conceded that the Nabonidus chronicle by itself could not be used to derive 539. You can find it in The Watchtower of May 15th, 1971 on page 316. The Society from that point on didn't call 539 an 'absolute date' anymore, but instead used the term 'pivotal date'.

    Therefore YoYo, I must ask you again, how does the Nabonidus chronicle point to 539? I gave you some clues above unless you want to challenge them of course. My next question for you therefore is:

    5) Where can we find the 'astronomical observations' you mentioned in your answer?

    If you've answered that one, I'll come back to the answers you gave on my questions 3) and 4).

    Now I should address the historians you mentioned. I had a hunch which ones you'd be referring to and I was correct in my hunch. This gives way to my next question.

    6) How can Eusebius, Africanus and Diodorus (or their works) be used to derive 539?

    After being asked by me, you brought these up as credible historians. So you should know about their work and how it can be used to prove the correctness of 539. If you indeed looked up the Watchtower of May 15th, 1971, you will find a clue there. It's called olympiads. But be careful... if you just parrot the WT you may find yourself in trouble real soon now. I also advise you NOT to mention Ptolemy's Canon. If you intend to do so, you'd better be aware of what the WT says about it in other places, such as when they discuss Artaxerxes. But again I digress.

    Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.

  • Lionel_P_Hartley

    YoYo stated:

    "So the 70 years end when the land is no longer desolated."

    Read what Jeremiah 25 says again

    11 And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”’

    Also 2 Chron;

    "Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia."

    As you agree, the king of Babylon ceased to exist in 539 BCE. Therefore that's the very latest time at which the the 70 years could have ended. This places their start at 609 BCE or earlier.

    As for the rest of your questions - they are considered in considerable detail in Jonsson's book and in AlanF's essays on Osarsif's site. Now that the Society's position has been shown to directly disagree with scripture the onus is on you to do any further research. I refer you back to the 1965 WT article "Can you Defend Your Faith."


  • dubla


    AlanF, cynicus, and dubla:

    I have two questions for you. If it is true that Jerusalem fell in 586 BCE, then how am I to understand the fulfillment of Daniel's prophesy in Chapter 4?

    Secondly, what is your understanding of the meaning of the "appointed times of the nations". When did it start and when did it end?

    number one, i dont recall interjecting any ideas or arguments on the topic of 586/7 bce, so im not sure why youre asking me.

    number two, considering the fact that you have repeatedly walked away from our discussions with no response to unanswered questions/points, why would i even give merit to a question by you directed at me? it seems every time i have tried to pose a legitimate argument to you, its been a waste of my time.


  • AlanF

    YoYo, I'll answer your 2nd two questions first: Daniel's prophecy in chapter 4 is said to have been fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. It's history, over and done with. No one knows for sure what the "appointed times of the nations" means. From Luke 21 it's pretty apparent that, whatever it means" the "times" began when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 C.E. There is no clear Biblical indication when they were to end.

    As for your comments about 2 Chronicles 36:21, it is apparent that you have no problem with the fact that your interpretation contradicts the absolutely clear statement in verse 20, which I have explained at length. If the Bible does not contradict itself, then how do you explain verse 20? Once you deal with this problem, we can move on in our discussion. Satisfying answers exist that do not result in contradictions.

    As for Daniel 9:2, your claim that "Daniel also understood the 70 year prophesy that way" is without merit. The verse is quite ambiguous about just what Daniel meant when he said that he "discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations [chorbah, plural] of Jerusalem, [namely,] seventy years." The Society claims that Daniel saw ahead of time that the 70 years were about to end, but neither the verse nor the context supports that. Indeed, the context lends strong support to the idea that Daniel had already observed conditions that allowed him to conclude that the 70 years had already ended, as we will see below.

    We need to get one point out of the way first, though. The word "devastations" (chorbah in Hebrew) is in the plural, so it certainly is not referring to just one period of devastation, namely, the time when the Jews were away from Jerusalem. Indeed, Jerusalem was "desolated" in the Hebrew sense a number of times. Daniel may well have had in mind the successive desolations and depopulations beginning in Nebuchadnezzar's accession year in 605 B.C. and ending with the complete destruction of Jerusalem in 587/6 B.C. This seems to have been how the translators of The Jerusalem Bible understood the passage, as they render Dan. 9:2 as follows:

    "In the first years of his reign I, Daniel, was perusing the scriptures, counting over the number of years -- as revealed by Yahweh to the prophet Jeremiah -- that were to pass before the successive devastations of Jerusalem would come to an end, namely seventy years."

    Of course, this is not a literal translation of Daniel's words, but one interpretation of his thought. There is not enough information in the Bible to be certain about exactly what Daniel had in mind.

    Next we will consider the fact that the Hebrew word chorbah does not necessarily mean "completely desolated, without an inhabitant". It can mean just what the English word "devastated" means, namely, severely broken. Indeed, Jeremiah 25:18 states that Jerusalem and the cities of Judah would become "a devastated place, an object of astonishment, something to whistle at and a malediction, just as at this day." This prophecy was uttered "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim,... that is, the first year of Nebuchadnezzar" (Jer. 25:1). The phrase "just as at this day" seems to indicate that the devastation, to a certain degree, had already begun at this time, eighteen years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem.

    That the word chorbah does not necessarily mean a state of desolation "without an inhabitant" can be seen from other texts which use the word. For example,
    Ezekiel 33:24, 27 mentions "the inhabitants of these devastated places." Nehemiah wrote his book during a time when Jerusalem was inhabited, yet at Nehemiah
    2:17 the city is said to be "devastated."

    Now let's carefully compare what God tells the Jewish exiles in Babylon will happen at the end of the 70 years with what Daniel says actually did happen. Jeremiah 29:10-14 reads:

    "10 For thus says the LORD, "When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you," declares the LORD, "and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile."

    Note carefully that God said that after the completion of 70 years "for Babylon", he would visit the Jews and return them from exile. This makes perfect sense. On the other hand, the Society's interpretation along with the NWT's rendering "seventy years at Babylon cannot both be correct, because if the captivity ended when the Jews arrived back in Judah, then they would still have been captive while they were still in Babylon, which contradicts the NWT's rendering that God would visit the Jews after "seventy years have been completed at Babylon".

    Given the rather clear portrayal in Jeremiah 29 of what was going to occur, note how it matches up with what Daniel said did occur. Let's consider the first few verses of Daniel 9:

    "In the first year of Darius ... who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans"

    Obviously, Daniel is describing a time immediately after the fall of Babylon. Having understood what Jeremiah wrote, including the above from 29:10-14, he knew that when he saw that Babylon had fallen, the 70 years of servitude must also have ended. Indeed, he goes on to write:

    "in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years."

    Having concluded that the 70 years must have ended, Daniel proceeded to do exactly as God had said the Jews would do in Jer. 29:12-13. Dan. 9:3 reads:

    "So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes."

    After many more words of supplication, Daniel's prayers were answered, just as had been predicted in Jeremiah 29:14. Dan. 9:20-21 reads:

    "Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me..."

    So we find complete agreement in this interpretation between Jeremiah 29:10-14 and Daniel 9:1-23. On the other hand, the Watchtower interpretation contradicts what the Bible says and is self-contradictory. I think it's easy to understand that the Society's view on this is simply wrong.


  • YoYoMama


    Hold on here. You spend so much time arguing about 607 and 586, and now you can't explain Daniel chapter 4? By reading that chapter, it is clear that it has a double fulfillment. Using the year 586 as a starting point, could you explain it?

    I know you're not satisfied with that, you're too smart for that. And regarding the "appointed times of the nations", isn't there a connection to a similar expression used by Ezequiel that could shed some light here?

    Another question: When did Jesus beging his reign?

  • Sirona


    I have been reading this thread hoping to know whether the watchtower are right on this point or not. Its not something I personally have researched, so I have been interested in the discussion.

    At the outset, I wondered how you would defend the watchtower belief. You made some good points re the working out of the date 539bc etc.

    However, I was really disappointed by your last retort which answers none of the points made by alanf. Throughout this thread, Alanf has provided about double the amount of text and to my mind double the amount of argument than you have. He has gone into great detail, especially in the last post about his theory re Daniel/Chronicles. Cynicus has also asked pertinent questions of you that you seem to brush off.

    Your refusal to stick with the argument has me worried about whether you actually know that the watchtower is right or not?

    Please answer, because I am honestly listening to both sides and would like to form a conclusion. Of course, I can research myself, yet since you are already involved in this debate I'd like to see your answers rather than just short comments.


    ** http://www.religioustolerance.org **

  • ianao


    Why don't YOU start answering some damn questions for once instead of always trying to ask your way out of a question. This isn't "Who's line is it anyway?" This is a discussion forum. So discuss instead of dodge. Otherwise, I shall have to whip you profusely.

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