Feb. 2014 WT , whats this all about???

by Crazyguy 28 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Crazyguy

    Read this in another thread,,,,,,,,,Feb 2014 WT. There, they cast doubt on the application of Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy to being fulfilled with Christ.

    "Could the first-century Jews have calculated the time of the Messiah’s arrival on the basis of the prophecy of the 70 weeks recorded at Daniel 9:24-27 ? While that possibility cannot be ruled out, it cannot be confirmed. The fact is that there were many conflicting interpretations of the 70 weeks in Jesus’ day, and none come close to our present understanding. "

    They stick to the understanding in the Daniel's Prophecy book, but this is a first-pass attempt at unloading that. In my entire life as a JW (nearly 40 years), they've been adamant that the 70 weeks prophecy was absolutely fulfilled in Christ.

    Whats going on here and why would they maybe abandoning this interpretation????????

  • designs

    what tha...

  • Phizzy

    Their interpretation has been torn to shreds on here, and probably elsewhere. Daniel was written in the 2nd century BC , and it is a book of its time, the "prophecies" are of course in the main nothing of the sort, they look back to fairly recnt history from the writers point of view.

    Leolaia has an excellent thread on this on here, and there are a number of others, perhaps the WT is learning that insisting on the 6th Century BC date for Daniel simply will not do any longer, and that the 70 weeks does not work according to proper Chronology.

    The other consideration is that if the "Prophecy" did apply to Jesus, why did he not proudly declare his fulfillment of it, at least to his disciples ?

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    WTF? And yet can you imagine what would happen if you told your local body of elders that you think "it cannot be confirmed" that Jesus was enthroned in 1914???

    Dirty rotten double-standard hypocrisy at its finest!!!!!!!!!

  • Heartofaboy


  • Phizzy

    One of Leo's excellent posts, with alink to further reading, enjoy :

    "There are two very good surveys of the early interpretation of Daniel 9 in Judaism and early Christianity. Montgomery's classic 1927 commentary of Daniel has a lengthy discussion in pp. 390-401, laying out the major historical stages in the interpretation of the "seventy weeks" vision. More recently, the most important scholarly source is William Adler's article "The Apocalyptic Survey of History Adapted by Christians: Daniel's Prophecy of 70 Weeks" (pp. 201-238), published in The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity (ed. by James VanderKam and William Adler, 1996). I can't recommend this article enough. Adler thoroughly examines the interpretations in Josephus, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Julius Africanus, Eusebius, etc. and what he finds is very interesting: the early church fathers preserved older Jewish interpretations of the prophecy as "alternative" interpretations, and when you place all these interpretations in historical order, one can readily see that Daniel 9 was reinterpreted over and over as circumstances changed; beyond its original Maccabean context, it was applied to Hasmoneans like Aristobolus and Alexander Jannaeus, then Herod the Great, then later Vespasian (wrt the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70), and even into the third century AD it was still used as an oracle to predict the future. It is likely that Christian interpretation gravitated towards seeing it as a fulfilled prophecy in order to discourage further prognostication (as the chronographic framework was especially amenable to date setting).

    Along the way, all sorts of liberties were taken with the text and various different interpretive traditions arose, all of which are quite fascinating. For a long time, the messianic figure was neither of the two anointed ones mentioned in the text but the (Gentile) "coming ruler" in v. 27, whose forces defile the Temple with the appalling horror ("abomination of desolation" in Greek). The original understanding of course (as in ch. 11 of Daniel and in 1 Maccabees) is that the coming ruler was Antiochus Epiphanes, and the anointed one "cut off" prior to this was the assassinated high priest Onias III (whose murder is related in Daniel 11:22, 1 Enoch 90:8, and 2 Maccabees 4:33-35). Later the "coming ruler" was interpreted to be Herod who had murdered the high priest Hyrcanus II (last of the Hasmoneans). Then in the first century AD, the "coming ruler" was interpreted to be Vespasian and the cut-off "anointed one" was Ananus, the high priest assassinated 3 1/2 years before Jerusalem's destruction. This was Josephus' own presumed interpretation and he acclaimed Vespasian as the messiah prophesied in scripture (who indeed became "world ruler" on Jewish soil). The synoptic gospels have a related interpretation, seeing Daniel 9 as foreseeing the events of AD 66-70, identifying the "abomination of desolation" with the Roman forces of Vespasian and general Titus (which desolated the sanctuary), thereby associating Vespasian with the "coming ruler" of the prophecy. There is no trace of a Christian interpretation associating Daniel 9 with Jesus Christ until the early third century AD. The early interpretation of Hippolytus retains many features of early Jewish exegesis of the text. In harmony with the MT and in contrast with the very Theodotionic rendering he was citing, he distinguished between the two anointed figures and recognized that a large span of time (62 weeks) separated the two from each other. He recognized that the reference is to the high priesthood of the Temple and he identified the first anointed figure as Jeshua ben-Jozadek (which in the opinion of most scholars is what the author of Hebrew Daniel probably intended). But he obtained a christological interpretation by following the Theodotionic text which has, instead of a second "anointed" being cut off at the end of the 62 weeks, a ceasing of the "anointing" which he construed as occurring when the Temple veil was ripped during the crucifixion. This is quite a different interpretation than the one espoused by the Society. The latter depends on the Theodotionic conflation of the two anointed figures, lumping together the initial 7 with the later 62 weeks. The idea that this prophecy about the desolation of the Temple could be used as a chronographical datum to date the arrival of the Messiah arose later in the third century AD, cf. especially the varied chronographical schemes pursued by Julius Africanus. However even Eusebius in the fourth century AD still advanced the interpretation that the "anointed one, a ruler" from Daniel 9:26 was meant to signify the high priesthood of the Temple from Jeshua to Hyrcanus II (reckoning 483 years from the rebuilding of the Temple under Darius II to the 15th year of Augustus Caesar when Herod was appointed ruler), brought to an end by Herod the Great, the "coming ruler".

    Another question: How does the WTS work out that Jesus' ministry lasted 3 1/2 years?

    Circular reasoning.

    Going by the plethora of hits, the prophecy of the "70 weeks/sevens" must be the most abused prophecy in the Bible, with minds far greater than ours providing their wildly different explanations.

    Montgomery back in the 1920s fittingly called the interpretation of ch. 9 as "the dismal swamp".

    I was not interested in assessing the validity of their interpretations, rather I was simply interested in finding documented evidences of what the Jews and Christians wrote at the time leading up to the early Church Fathers.

    Yeah, you should take a look at Adler's article. Oh and I do recall an interpretation in one of the apocalyptic Dead Sea Scrolls....I should look up the reference.

    Here is the article via Google Books:


    This post of Leo's comes from a Doug Mason thread I believe, so good old Doug has written on the matter, worth searching out.

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    PS - her username is Leolaia, not Leo.

  • konceptual99

    I really hope it's not long before she is back here...

  • AnnOMaly

    Doesn't it seem as if they are not abandoning their interpretation so much as saying that the Jews of the time may not have been capable of calculating the Messiah's arrival? Am I not seeing something obvious? I admit the statement seems out of place. Any thoughts?

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