I must ask you the same question I asked in another thread.
Why is the disproving of the 607 date so important? The fact that the Watchtower's prediction (one which of course they did not originate), was fulfilled and 1914 did turn out to be a significant year is what is important not the start dates. Whether or not the start dates can be proven, the success of their publicly predicting 1914 as a significant year is still noteworthy.
You have to realize that I was never one of Jehovah's Witnesses.
So to me the single most important WT teaching is their claim that Jesus Christ returned invisibly in 1914 and looked over all the religious groups on earth and chose their group to be God's spokesperson.
The Mormons come by and tell me they are the only ones with the truth.
And my Catholic friends (at least the more traditonal ones ) think the Pope really is the vicar of Christ on earth.
If Jesus did not return in 1914 and pick the Bible Students to be his channel of truth, then there is no reason for me to listen to anything the WTS says. If they are wrong about something as major as that, I would be foolish to trust any of their Bible interpretation.
On the other hand, if Jesus really did return in 1914 and pick the organization now known as the WTBTS to be his channel of truth, then I ought to listen, right?
But I happen to be a Christian who knows something of history and chronology. I taught children's Sunday School classes for many years, I majored in religion, and my husband used to be an editor at Biblical Archaeology Review. So when I see that the literature says Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 607 BCE, I am astonished.
Scholars wrangle over all kinds of things and it is rare to find a scholarly consensus. But, as it happens, 586/587 is a date which scholars agree on. In all of the tons of journal articles and books and charts, NO ONE in the scholarly world says Jerusalem was destroyed in 607. You would not be able to find ONE SINGLE scholar who gives that date.
Why does the WTS hold to the 607 date? For one reason and one reason only --- it is vital to their calculations showing Jesus returned in 1914 and picked them.
But when I started reading the older literature, I found that for the first fifty years of the organization's history, they claimed Jesus had returned in 1874!
So even AFTER he supposedly came back and picked them to be his channel of truth, they kept going around saying Jesus had come back in 1874.
This seems pretty weird to me. They were wrong all those years about him coming back in 1874, and then when he really did come back (according to their claims) they didn't even notice(!), and they kept going around saying he returned in 1874?
How could they make a mistake like that? Jesus comes back and chooses them to be his channel of truth, and yet they couldn't hear his voice saying, "I'm back. I didn't really return in 1874, but I'm here now."
I started reading about their calculations, which, you must admit, are just a hodge-podge. What struck me is that they were so sure they had it right when they were teaching Jesus had returned in 1874.
If you read Russell's writings, he was absolutely convinced his calculations were correct and Scriptural. There is page after page of "scriptural proof" that the Lord returned in 1874. But he was wrong.
So why should I put any trust in the present calculations, especially when there is absolutely no support whatsoever for the starting date of 607 BCE?
Yes, there was a war in 1914. But the Bible Students were expecting the end of the world and the complete overthrow of the churches. They were very disappointed when 1914 came and went. They changed the date to 1915 and then 1925. When the end didn't come and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never showed up, they had to do some damage control.
So now they emphasize that "something" did happen in 1914. Well, yes, something happened, but it wasn't what they said would happen. They were totally wrong.
I don't see any reason to accept the WTS as my guide.
You know the poem about the blind man and the elephant? I see the Mormons and the JW's calling to people behind the fence to come and let them be a guide to the elephant. But I want to see for myself.
Would you trust a guide who didn't even know if the elephant was really there or not? Say there was a guide who stood around calling, "Come and see the elephant! It arrived in 1874 and is on display now." and then it turned out there was no elephant then. If that same guide started calling, "Come and see the elephant! It didn't arrive in 1874, but it's really here now!" would you trust him? Why would you trust him?
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.