The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. Mainstream Christian theologians, archeologists and historians take the position that it was destroyed in 587 or 586 B.C.E., a view supported by the overwhelming weight of archeological and historical evidence, and an objective reading of the Bible.
While it is true that Jehovah's Witnesses have concluded that it was in the year 607 BC that Babylon destroyed Solomon's temple in Jerusalem, which led to the desolation of the land of Judah and the exile of the Jews at Babylon during a 70-year period, our view is supported by an objective reading of the Bible, whereas the viewpoint of some as to Jerusalem's destruction having occurred in the year 587/586 BC is based on archeological evidence and secular history as to dates assumed in "king-lists" having to do with the reigns of the Babylonian Dynasty, king-lists derived from documents like Ptolemy's Canon, dates which do not and cannot be reconciled with any objective reading of the Bible since the reigns of the Neo-Babylonian kings contained in such king-lists do not span the years of Babylonian exile during this 70-year period and the dates assigned to the reign of these kings all fail to consider either the deposing of Babylon and the release of the Jews by Cyrus after 68 years of exile at Babylon, and the repatriation of Judah by the Jews at the end of 70 years as set forth in the Bible.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses reject this archeological and historical evidence because it does not harmonize with their religious beliefs. Instead, they essentially confine their evidence to their interpretation of Scripture.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept evidence that amounts to the best-guesses of astronomers and historians as to the reigns of the Neo-Babylonian kings during the 70-year period of the Jews' exile in Babylon that are in conflict with the Bible on which our interpretation of Scripture is based.
Accordingly, this paper confines itself primarily to scriptural interpretation, and logic, and proves that Jerusalem was not, and could not have been, destroyed in 607 B.C.E., but was destroyed in either 587 or 586 B.C.E., a view which harmonizes with substantial and persuasive archeological and historical facts.
I read this paper in its entirety and while I cannot claim to understand that I understood what it was you meant by "primarily" here (and I don't make such a claim!), it does not prove either scripturally or logically that Jerusalem was destroyed in either 587 BC or 586 BC, or that Jerusalem wasn't destroyed by Babylon in 607 BC.
The year 607 B.C.E. plays a crucial role in the religious tenets of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In accordance with their interpretation of Scripture, 607 B.C.E. is fundamental, a watershed which serves as a foundation for their faith and philosophy. Based upon mathematical calculations derived primarily from the book of Daniel, the Jehovah’s Witnesses count forward 2,520 years from the fall of 607 B.C.E. to arrive at the fall of A.D. 1914 - the onslaught of World War I and the year in which they believe the End Times commenced. 1914 is also believed to be the year Jesus Christ was enthroned in heaven as ruling king of the Kingdom of God, which is yet another false teaching addressed in detail in the accompanying article found here. This author is primarily concerned with whether Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E.
Whatever it is Jehovah's Witnesses believe as to when the end times began is totally irrelevant in this thread, and mention of what our view is as to any 2,520-year period has nothing at all to do with your proving whether or not Jerusalem suffered destruction by the Babylonians in 607 BC. I wish to point out that the very fact that you again use the word "primarily" here twice suggests that this paper serves some secondary agenda having nothing at all to do with this thread.
The Jehovah's Witnesses insist they are God's only true prophet, writing: "So does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet?...This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian Witnesses...Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a 'prophet' of God. It is another thing to prove it," (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197). (See Deut. 18:21.)
Again, your comment here as to whether it is appropriate for Jehovah's Witnesses to describe themselves as prophets of God according to our interpretation of Scripture is a matter of your theological opinion, but if you are of the opinion that true prophets of God would be prognosticators as well as those bearing messages from God, we believe ourselves to be both of these, even if you should be of the opinion that there are no true prophets of God associated with any Christian denomination today. Moreover, whatever it is you might opine in this regard has no relevance to what we believe ourselves to be. You are certainly entitled to your opinion.
With respect to 1914, the Jehovah’s Witnesses regard this year, and the method by which they arrive there, as prophecy. If, however, Jerusalem did not fall in 607 B.C.E. and if it fell in 587/6 B.C.E. their prophetic date is off by twenty years, and false, and would cause other critical dates in their belief structure to fail.
I will incorporate here my comments above as to the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses as to the significance of the year 1914, for whatever our beliefs might be in this regard has absolutely nothing at all with whether or not Jerusalem's destruction occurred in 607 BC or if this event occurred in 587/586 BC, the subject of this thread.
The Jehovah's Witnesses regard this enthronement of Christ to be the long-awaited Second Coming of Christ, whereas mainstream Christians believe the Second Coming and His parousia (presence) are in the future as heralded at Matthew 24:30,31 and Mark 13:24-32. The fact that the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Second Coming and parousia have already occurred is cause for serious reflection and concern.
Again, I will incorporate here my comments above as to the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses as to our interpretation of when Jesus' second coming began, for whatever our beliefs might be in this regard has absolutely nothing at all with whether or not Jerusalem's destruction occurred in 607 BC or if this event occurred in 587/586 BC, the subject of this thread.
(What follows is quoted from the link:)
An abbreviated form of this seventy-year prophecy, unfortunately taken out of context, and reproduced in the article Setting the Record Straight - a fierce and very comprehensive defense of the Jehovah’s Witnesses' pro-607 stance - provides:
The word that occurred to Jeremiah . . . concerning all the people of Judah and concerning all the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . . 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. —Jeremiah 25:1a, 2, 11.
I took the time to read your piece regarding what you indicated was going to be a scriptural consideration of this topic to which a link embedded in your message took me, but what I read turned out to be a refutation by you of some article called "Setting the Record Straight" that was written by someone else whose comments I do not associate myself since Setting the Record Straight doesn't accurately reflect what the Bible says as to the desolation of Judah as to the meaning of Jeremiah's words at 2 Chronicles 36:21 regarding the land of Judah's being made to lay desolate "until the land had paid off its sabbaths ... to fulfill seventy years," or as to the meaning of Jeremiah words at Jeremiah 25:11.
It should be pointed out that should either prong of this composite two-prong approach fail, the entire prophecy, or their version of it, fails.
Frankly, I don't care if either prong of the "two-prong approach" taken by whoever should be the author of Setting the Record Straight should fail, for even if the author should he or she profess to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, if his or her comments should be in conflict with the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, I would consider them to be irrelevant to this discussion.
As such, we are essentially dealing with two primary areas of interest related to a) when Judah’s devastation began and ended, and the extent of that devastation, and b) when servitude to the king of Babylon began and ended, what servitude meant, and to whom it applied. [Setting] the Record Straight frames the Jehovah’s Witnesses' position as follows:
While some critics argue that Jeremiah 25:11 only refers to seventy years of servitude, Daniel 9:2 confirms that the prophecy also entailed seventy years of devastation for the land of Judah. Second Chronicles 36:20, 21 further shows that it was the composite effect of exiling the remaining ones who "came to be servants to [Nebuchadnezzar]" and the resulting devastation and desolation of the land of Judah that began to fulfill the prophecy concerning the seventy years.
No, we aren't. You might want to address these two "primary areas of interest," but what you quoted here from Setting the Record Straight is not consistent with the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses.
This paper begins with an analysis of the underlying issues presented by the phrase a) "and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years" (servitude), followed by a discussion of issues pertaining to the phrase b) "all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment" (devastation).
Well, I have no comment since whatever it is you might say with reference to either or both of the two "prongs" advanced by the author of Setting the Record Straight, even if you should believe them to be relevant to this discussion as to the meaning of 2 Chronicles 36:21 regarding Judah's desolation "until the land had paid off its sabbaths ... to fulfill seventy years," and as to the meaning of Jeremiah 25:11 as to the nations themselves, including Egypt, Tyre, Moab and the Medes listed at Jeremiah 25:17-26, having to drink from Jehovah's "cup" during this period and "serve the king of Babylon seventy years" when Babylon had become the dominant world power.
This is not an all-encompassing list of the kings of Babylon which the nations served seventy years. Even 607- defenders in Setting the Record Straight are of the same view:
In fulfillment of Jeremiah 27:7, the exiled Jews did in fact literally serve Nebuchadnezzar’s son (Evilmerodach) and Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson (co-regent Belshazzer, whose mother was reportedly Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter, Nitocris). However, the captive Jews also served other kings of Babylon, including Neriglissar, Labashi-Marduk and Nabonidus, none of whom bore any blood relation to Nebuchadnezzar. Thus, the words at Jeremiah 27:7, though indisputably true, were obviously not meant to be an all-encompassing list of rulers whom the Jews would serve during the seventy years.
I do not agree with the view of the author of Setting the Record Straight as to Nabonidus not being a "blood relation to Nebuchadnezzar." I believe Nebuchadnezzar reigned as king of Babylon from 625/624 BC for 43 years, and was succeeded by his son, Evil-Merodach (Amil-Marduk), as king of Babylon from 581 BC for two years. Evil-Merodach was assassinated by Neriglissar (Nergal-sharezer), his brother-in-law, who succeeded him as king of Babylon from 579 BC for four years, and when he died, his son Labashi-Marduk succeeded him as king of Babylon in 575 BC for three months when he was assassinated.
Nabonidus, who, like Neriglissar, was one of Nebuchadnezzar's sons-in-law, became the king of Babylon after Labashi-Marduk's assassination in 575/574 for 35 years along with his son and crown prince, Belshazzar, for at least 17 years (I believe Belshazzar became coregent of Babylon with Nabonidus during the third year of his father's reign in 572 BC), who, where he lived in Babylon, was considered the king of Babylon, whereas Nabonidus lived primarily in Arabia, until 539 BC when the Medes and Persians under Cyrus deposed Babylon, bringing the Babylonian Dynasty to an end.
Evil-Merodach was, in fact, a blood relative of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar's eldest son, and since Nabonidus was Nebuchadnezzar's son-in-law, this means that his eldest son, Belshazzar, was also a blood relative of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar's grandson. In fact, this is exactly what Jeremiah 27:7 prophesied as to "him" (Nebuchadnezzar), "his son" (Evil-Merodach) and "his grandson" (Belshazzar).
A cursory reading of the phrase "In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon …" might suggest that the seventy years entailed the entire nation being exiled at Babylon seventy years which could only happen if the period began at Jerusalem’s destruction. Under the Dominant Babylonian Empire theory, "at Babylon" is more properly rendered "for Babylon." The difference is significant.... [¶] This is a serious point of contention. The question is whether Jeremiah 29:10 may properly read "In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon?"
I found this comment of yours rejecting the word "at" in translating Jeremiah 29:10 in favor of the word "for" is ridiculous.
As will be demonstrated in the following sections, "at Babylon" is not a proper translation and more importantly it cannot logically be used because it fails numerous tests. The question of what the correct interpretation is will be revisited later because employing the correct interpretation requires drawing a conclusion; it is a judgment call derived after a process of scriptural analysis and the application of common sense.
Yes, this is, as you say, "a judgment call" on your part, and scriptural analysis nor common sense have anything to do with a literal rendering of this verse. You do not agree with the way in which Jeremiah 29:10 is rendered and that's what this is about; "at" is disfavored because it doesn't fit your interpretation of this verse. I have no problem with your interpreting this verse in a way that differs from the way in which Jehovah's Witnesses interpret it though. I suppose it might be said that we, too, made a "judgment call."
[If] the seventy-year period ended in 539 B.C.E. when Babylon fell and the Persians and Medes began to reign while the exiles were still in Babylon, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Return theory fails in three significant ways: a) the seventy years obviously did not end upon their return in 537 B.C.E., b) their seventy-year period amounts to only 68 years from 607 B.C.E. to 539 B.C.E., and c) from the fall of Babylon in October 539 B.C.E. to the exiles’ return to Judah in 537 B.C.E. there was no king of Babylon to serve. So when exactly did the prophecy at Jeremiah 25:11 end, whereby "these nations" would stop serving the king of Babylon seventy years? It ended in October, 539 B.C.E., not upon their return in 537 B.C.E.
The land of Judah lay desolate for seventy years
Jeremiah foretold that the land of Judah's would be made to lay desolate "until the land had paid off its sabbaths ... to fulfill seventy years" (2 Chronicles 36:21). The fact that during this 70-year period, the Jews were exiles in Babylon for at least 68 of these 70 years. Actually Daniel had been an exile in Babylon for 11 years longer than 68 years, for he, along with his wives, his mother, his court officials and other "foremost men," became exiles at Babylon "in the eighth year" of Nebuchadnezzar's kingship when Jehoiachin's vassalage to Babylon ended. (2 Kings 24:12) This was when Daniel's name was changed to "Belteshazzar."
We know that Daniel's reference to "the second year of the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar" at Daniel 2:1 could not have been referring to Nebuchadnezzar's second year as king of Babylon since not only did Daniel not become an exile in Babylon until the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, but 2 Kings 24:17, 18, indicates that Jehoiachin's uncle, Zedekiah, reigned as king of Judah "for eleven years," which means that it wasn't until Nebuchadnezzar's nineteenth year that Zedekiah's reign ended. Daniel had already been an exile in Babylon for 11 years when Solomon's temple was destroyed in Jerusalem, so the first year of the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar with Babylon as the dominant world power was Daniel's 11th year as a Babylonian exile, and the "second year" of Nebuchadnezzar's kingship would have been Daniel's 12th year. Thus, when reckoning 607 BC as Daniel's 11th year in Babylon, then some 68 years later when Cyrus deposed Babylon in 539 BC, this would mean that Daniel had been an Babylonian exile for 79 years (11 + 68).
The seventy years ended when Babylon fell, not two years later when the exiles stepped foot back on the soil of Judah.
This would be your opinion, but you cannot prove that the 70 years ended with Babylon's fall, can you?
Jeremiah 29:10 likewise concludes the end of the seventy-year period of servitude while the Jews were in Babylon, not after they returned.
No, it doesn't; this would be your opinion, your interpretation of Jeremiah 29:10. I don't regard strong assertions as being the same as proof.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses at page 24 contradict themselves because they also claim that Ezra wrote that the seventy years ran until the first year of Cyrus which they submit was his first regnal year, which would actually be his second year of having power.
If your reference to "page 24" should refer to Setting the Record Straight, even if you should find there to be contradictions in what you read on this page, Setting the Record Straightdoesn't provide the official viewpoint of Jehovah's Witnesses, so I have no comment. Just because someone claims to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses does not mean that what that individual says accords with our viewpoint, as clearly many of the folks here on JWN profess to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, but they know even as I know that they are not what they claim to be as betrayed by many of the things they have stated in this and in other JWN threads.
As I stated at the outset, and despite your many countervailing viewpoints with regard to this topic, this paper of yours doesn't do what you said it would do -- it doesn't prove either scripturally or logically that Jerusalem was destroyed in either 587 BC or 586 BC, or that Jerusalem wasn't destroyed by Babylon in 607 BC.