Is the Watchtower stubbornly holding onto the 70 year exile figure within the Old Testament?

by sabastious 22 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • sabastious
    sabastious

    I read Outlaw's post about how he has watched people make an online career out of debating for and against arguments regarding 607 and 586 being the date of Jerusalem's fall. He's right that this has happened and it's had the nasty side effect of "mudding up the waters" so-to-speak in regards to anyone wishing to glean wisdom from these debates.

    I am not a historian and when posts start getting overtly historical my reading of them seems to slow down and I find myself having to reread posts.

    I am going to try to simply state each argument to see if I have put it together (correct me if I am wrong):

    The Watchtower says that they default to the Bible's figure of 70 years of Jewish exile which is used more than once in the Old Testament. They use 539 b. c. e. as a cornerstone date because they agree with our current archaeological data, because it doesn't confict with the Bible, as the date of the destruction of Babylon by the Persians. I'm still not sure how they get 607 out of the numbers 539 and 70 maybe someone can enlighten me as to why this is?

    Archeology has unearthed many relics that support the 586/587 date which contradicts with the Bible's 70 year exile depicted in the Old Testament IF you start from the secular destruction of Babylon: 539 b.c.e. Wouldn't this mean that archeology actually supports a LESS THAN 70 year stay for the Jews in Babylon? Is that ultimately why the Witnesses can't agree with the historical record?

    -Sab

  • sabastious
  • No Room For George
    No Room For George

    Archeology has unearthed many relics that support the 586/587 date which contradicts with the Bible's 70 year exile depicted in the Old Testament IF you start from the secular destruction of Babylon: 539 b.c.e.

    One thing to bear in mind Sab, is that archeology doesn't necessarily contradict the Bible. The 70 years had to deal with, "these nations" and their subservience to Babylon following the Battle of Carchemish. (Jer 25:11)

  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    WTS claims a 70 year exile and 70 year "devastation / desolation" for Jerusalem.Hence they go from 539, then Cyrus 1st year, then a little journey to Jerusalem to get to to 537bce, then they subtract 70 years to get back to 607 as Jerusalems destruction.

    The Bible says 70 years "servitude" to the Babylonians. "All these nations" nearby including Judah / Jerusalem were included in this.

    The WTS hangs up on DESOLATION and COMPLETELY WITHOUT AN INHABITANT, seeming to forget that there's a lot of poetic license taken in prophecy to hammer a point home through over dramatisation, plus they FIX the 70 year period to THESE conditions being met.

  • MeanMrMustard
    MeanMrMustard

    @sabastious:

    You wrote:

    The Watchtower says that they default to the Bible's figure of 70 years of Jewish exile which is used more than once in the Old Testament. They use 539 b. c. e. as a cornerstone date because they agree with our current archaeological data, because it doesn't confict with the Bible, as the date of the destruction of Babylon by the Persians. I'm still not sure how they get 607 out of the numbers 539 and 70 maybe someone can enlighten me as to why this is?

    They take 539 BC date as the fall of Babylon. Then they figure that Cyrus released the Jews by 538 BC. Then they figure it probably took them a year to get back to their land, and get started rebuilding. So they end up with 537 BC, when they got back to Jerusalem and the land was no longer "desolate without an inhabitant". So according to them, the 70 years is over at that point. They subtract 70 years from 537 and get 607 as the start.

    But you have to keep in mind that to the WTS, the 70 years is that of "desolation without an inhabitant". The Bible doesn't say that at all. Witness My Fury was pointing that out. Just a simple read of Jeremiah 25 and you'll see its not about "desolation without an inhabitant". Rather, the 70 years is that of servitude to Babylon for many nations. When Carl Olof Jonsson wrote his book, he dedicated most of it to outlining the archelogical lines of evidence against 607 and for 587. But a good portion of his book considers the scriptures that mention the 70 years. These, IMHO, are the most powerful chapters because JWs need to see that its not a battle against archeology and the Bible. They actually agree. It's only the WTS interpretation of the scriptures (which they use to justify their power, so they have a vested interest) that are out of line with the Bible and historical evidence.

    MeanMrMustard

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    But you have to keep in mind that to the WTS, the 70 years is that of "desolation without an inhabitant". The Bible doesn't say that at all.

    That, to me, is the key to the argument. They assert it without ANY proof (and just the tiniest bit of inference) and THE BIBLE DOESN'T SAY THAT AT ALL.

  • djeggnog
    djeggnog

    @sabastious:

    I am going to try to simply state each argument to see if I have put it together (correct me if I am wrong):

    I'm still not sure how they get 607 out of the numbers 539 and 70 maybe someone can enlighten me as to why this is?

    I concur [email protected]'s response to this portion of your question. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jerusalem as well, for the land of Judah would have to pay off its sabbath rests during the years of its desolation until 70 years had been completed; accordingly, during this 70-year period, no one dwelled in the land of Judah. (2 Chronicles 36:20, 21; Jeremiah 44:2) Jehovah used Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, to come not just against his own people and the land of Judah to deport them to Babylon, but Nebuchadnezzar would also strike the surrounding nations, who would become vassals (servants) for Babylon during this 70-year period. (Jeremiah 25:8, 9, 29:11)

    Jehovah also told his people that when the 70 years of desolation was complete, that he would bring them back to the land of Judah. (Jeremiah 29:10) After Cyrus had deposed Babylon in 539 BC, he decreed in 538 BC that the Jews could leave Babylon and return to the land of Judah to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem, and thereupon released them from Babylonian captivity. Upon their arrival in Judah and repatriation of their cities by 537 BC, the 70-year period came to an end. Thus by subtracting 70 years from 537 BC, Jehovah's Witnesses calculate that the 70 years of desolation began in 607 BC.

    @WMF goes on to say the following with which I do not agree:

    The Bible says 70 years "servitude" to the Babylonians. "All these nations" nearby including Judah / Jerusalem were included in this.

    The WTS hangs up on DESOLATION and COMPLETELY WITHOUT AN INHABITANT....

    @MeanMrMustard concurs with what @WMF says:

    But you have to keep in mind that to the WTS, the 70 years is that of "desolation without an inhabitant". The Bible doesn't say that at all. Witness My Fury was pointing that out.... Just a simple read of Jeremiah 25 and you'll see its not about "desolation without an inhabitant". Rather, the 70 years is that of servitude to Babylon for many nations.

    As you can read for yourself, @sabastious, Jeremiah 36:21 speaks of the land of Judah "lying desolated ... to fulfill seventy years" and Jeremiah 44:2 does explain how, not just Jerusalem, but "all the cities of Judah" had become "a devastated place" in which there was "no inhabitant," so @MeanMrMustard is mistaken.

    Actually, both @WMF and @MeanMrMustard are fond of citing Jeremiah 25, notably Jeremiah 25:11, which speaks to the fate of the surrounding nations that were destined to become servants of Nebuchadnezzar during the 70 years, but Jehovah wasn't really punishing these nations at all, but sought to discipline his people, who had proven to be disobedient and had failed to keep the sabbaths they owed, prompting Jehovah to give his people a 70-year exile at Babylon to pay off these sabbaths and to discipline them, which "devastations" Daniel has determined from reading Jeremiah's prophecy, would be fulfilled after 70 years. (Daniel 9:2)

    Archeology has unearthed many relics that support the 586/587 date which contradicts with the Bible's 70 year exile depicted in the Old Testament IF you start from the secular destruction of Babylon: 539 b.c.e. Wouldn't this mean that archeology actually supports a LESS THAN 70 year stay for the Jews in Babylon?

    Yes.

    Is that ultimately why the Witnesses can't agree with the historical record?

    No. Because Jehovah stated quite clearly 70 years, Jehovah's Witnesses are unwilling to consider reconciling the Bible with archeological lines of evidence that, at best, render God's word void by assigning 50 years, instead of 70 years, for the period beginning with the destruction of Solomon's temple and the desolation of the land of Judah to its repatriation, and could care less what an apostate like Carl Olof Jonsson wrote in his book, The Gentile Times Reconsidered, Chronology and Christ's Return, since we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and have faith that when Jehovah said "70 years" he meant "70 years," and not "50 years," no matter what evidence may be presented that contradicts the Bible.

    Recall, too, that Jesus said (1) that his disciples are "no part of the world," so we don't much care what the world says if what they should declare our God to be a liar, and (2) that God's word "is truth." (John 17:16, 17)

    @djeggnog

  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    But still no EVIDENCE for 607, just a lot of hot air and wishful thinking.

    There are no "extra" years to play with, ANYWHERE in the period under discussion. The FACTS and methods that are used (even by the WTS) to establish 539 bce as the fall of Babylon ALSO establish 587 bce as the fall of Jerusalem. To cherry pick here is grossly dishonest. Only by holding to a very narrow "understanding" and reading of the 70 years is 607 arrived at.

    If that understanding of prophecy is in direct opposition to fact then something is wrong with that understanding. ...This is not a bible vs secular chronology argument as the WTS would like you to believe, as the bible clearly supports the 587 date in line with secular history. It is the narrow and forced 607 argument that is not in line with both the bible and secular chronology, this is why many are leaving the JWs now that we are in the information age and can more easily see through the WTS propaganda.

  • AnnOMaly
    AnnOMaly

    ^ *groan*

    You've already been beaten to a pulp on this subject, eggie. Why are you offering yourself again for more humiliation?

  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    Because he is VERY stupid Ann.

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