586/587 the K.I.S.S. approach --- no VAT4956, Ptolemy, Josephus needed

by Alleymom 147 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Alleymom
    Hi Alleymom,

    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.


  • City Fan
    City Fan

    Those were excellent posts Alleymom.

    I've been looking for a way to disprove 607 with their own literature. I know where I can get a 1965 bound volume and I'm going to do a simple chart as you have done using the 1965 Watchtower.

    They are on record as having given the lengths of reign of each king, and they are on record as having said so-and-so succeeded so-and-so


  • Alleymom


    You have two problems with your KISS chronology.

    Firstly where does the 70 years configure in your data?

    Secondly, what date marked the Fall of Ferusalem, 586 OR 587?


    The thing is, it isn't MY chronology. It's the WT's. I started with THEIR date of 539 and I counted backward using THEIR OWN claims for the names of the neo-Babylonian kings and the lengths of their reigns.

    Regarding 586 v. 587 --- more chaff! A discrepancy of (+ or -) one year for any date in the ANE chronology can be accounted for on the basis of Nisan-Nisan v. Tishri-Tishri dating and accession-year v. non-accession year dating. I am sure you know this from Thiele. In one of the other threads I offered to send a pdf file of Alberto Green's article on two minor discrepancies in the chronology. Several people emailed me and asked for the article. You didn't.

    Since I prefer to take the KISS approach in this thread, here is a KISS answer to 586 v. 587:

    *** it-2 p. 481 Nebuchadnezzar

    Finally, in 607 B.C.E., on Tammuz (June-July) 9 in the 11th year of Zedekiah’s reign (Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year if counting from his accession year or his 18th regnal year), a breach was made in Jerusalem’s wall.

    So if you want the technical answer to 586 v. 587 read the corpus of scholarly literature. If you are happy with a KISS approach, take the WT's own word for it that it was either in Nebuchadnezzar's 18th or 19th regnal year, depending on how you count.


  • AlanF

    Absolutely excellent posts, Marjorie!

    I think we'll see "scholar" say something like, "The Watchtower did not mean what it said when it wrote that 1965 WT article." After all, he and other JW apologists always say the same thing about the Bible: "The Bible does not mean what it says here. It means what we say.


  • outnfree


    I'm going to make a prediction: "This thread will prove to be pivotal for the release of many from bondage to the 'faithful and discreet slave'."

    Bet my prediction comes true more often than the WTS' predictions do...

    Thanks for the clear and well-presented information.


  • IslandWoman

    Hi Marjorie,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I agree with everything you said, the Watchtower's theology is way off the mark and their predictions for 1914 were also.

    The direction I was coming from was more about the power of religion verses truth. When people want to believe they find a way to believe and even the smallest of miracles will nurture that belief until death. Many religions have a history of wrongs that are publicly known, yet their adherents believe their faith is the true faith and they continue to support their religion.

    Religion offers hope, JWs like other religions offer hope. From time to time claimed miracles are reported in the press, in Florida a few years ago long lines of people gathered to view what was thought to be a miracle, the image of Mary on a large window. The faith of many was reaffirmed, it made their faith in their religion stronger. Of course unbelievers could find a way to disprove that the image was a miracle, and some did say that the physical processes that took place on the glass were not connected to some supernatural occurrence, but to the true believers it did not matter, the image for them was solid proof of their faith how it got there was not as important as the fact that it was there.

    I believe it is the same with many JWs. Sure their religion said one thing then another about 1914, but for many the fact that the year did prove to be a significant one builds up their faith in their religion. Just as one small miracle in another religion can carry the believers faith for a lifetime, so also for many JWs 1914 can carry their faith for a lifetime.

    As an example, let's say that in 1990 a religious man said that Bible prophecy indicated that the world would come to an end in 2001 and that Satan would battle with the Christ and the Christ would win. Let us also say that this man and his followers published this warning far and wide here in the U.S. September 11, 2001 would make this man a prophet even though the world did not end and the Christ did not visibly battle with Satan. Fundamentalist Christians would say that yes the "world came to an end" because the world we knew has ended and is now changed forever. They could also say Christ (Christianity) did and is doing battle with Satan the father of all evil and evil doers and 2001 marked the beginning of the last fight to rid the world of the evils of terrorism the last enemy to peace on earth. Fulfilled prophecy is a powerful thing and any discrepancies in details can be explained away by true believers.

    1914 was predicted as a significant year, it came true. Miracle enough for many JWs to continue to believe, imo.


  • outnfree


    You try hard to sound reasonable, but your argument is not reasonable at all.

    The direction I was coming from was more about the power of religion verses truth.

    You did not express that clearly at all with your remarks on page one.

    I believe it is the same with many JWs. Sure their religion said one thing then another about 1914, but for many the fact that the year did prove to be a significant one builds up their faith in their religion. Just as one small miracle in another religion can carry the believers faith for a lifetime, so also for many JWs 1914 can carry their faith for a lifetime.

    If you are speaking about the believers pre-1914, many who had previously thrown over the 1874 date for the new, revised 1914 version of Christ's parousia LEFT the organization when neither 1914 nor 1915 proved to be correct. Their faith was NOT carried for a lifetime.

    The TRUTH was the 1914 date was wrong. Truth-lovers actually LEFT the Society when that date came and went. POWER-lovers stayed to rebuild from the ashes.

    Then in 1925, MORE left, as those too indecisive to leave in 1915 finally saw that Rutherford's claims were no surer. Their faith, too, was NOT carried for a lifetime.

    For myself, there were many things 'wrong' with the religion that I overlooked, until I saw how the 607 BCE chronology didn't work. As soon as that was clear to me, that the Society willfully was deceitful about said chronology, then I understood that the TRUTH was that the faithful and discreet slave could not possibly be God's spokesmen on earth. And the entire organization came tumbling down as I recognized it for the plague it was.

    When I further researched and learned just how far the modern-day Society had strayed from Pastor Russell's ideas against hierarchy, how it deliberately used selective quotes to try to prove its peculiar version of creationism and to misrepresent what some of the Church Fathers actually believed, then I understood that the "POWER of religion verses truth" (extra emphasis mine) was that the Governing Body was POWER-hungry, even power-mad.

    And, as a truth-seeker, I wanted no part of it.

    THIS is why the truth about the 607/1914 chronology is so powerful and so important. It debunks the FDS myth, allowing cult followers to understand that the GB has no more a direct line to God than any other human -- religious leader or otherwise -- on the face of this planet.


  • IslandWoman


    Yes, many JWs have left but many also have stayed.

    If you think my post had anything to do with defending JWs let me say outright it did not! It's about the power of religious belief, the power it has over even truth itself.

    The JW religion fulfills a need and no matter if COJonsson's book were to be published world wide it would not by any means threaten the Society. Not because his arguments are not worthwhile but because he is attempting to fight religion. The number of JWs who leave because of his book or even the internet will always be a small minority of the number of JWs as a whole, imo.

    Contrary to what some here may believe, there are many JWs who are very happy with their religion. They enjoy the conventions, they want to teach the Bible to others, they love to volunteer, they love the association, they enjoy participating at the meetings, they love singing the songs and no, they are not all braindead (that is an exJW myth promulgated by the movers and shakers of the exJW discussion board world).

    As long as these people love their religion, 1914 will live. No amount of dating discussion will change that.

    Religion is not based on fact but on emotion.


  • Surreptitious


    Your posts were as Jimmy Walker would say, DY-NO-MITE!!!

    The facts are irrefutable and you have a writing style that is fluent and easy to read and understand.

    I understand where IW is coming from. There are many who operate (and will continue to operate) on "blind faith" regardless of....well, regardless of anything. This of course does not make them right and I don't think that IW was trying to say that. Just that as the old adage states, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

    This in no way negates the information that you presented. It was and remains quite excellent. I hope to hear more and more from you!


  • no one
    no one


    To address your 1st post, I would like to remind you that the WT had to come up with their understanding of the lengths for the kings from SOME source, whether it be Josephus, VAT, etc.

    I think that for some of us here, the struggle with chronology has gone beyond the WTS/biblical scholars debate.

    If the WTS is wrong (and I feel that they are; not just on the 607 thing, but on several points) and the Bible is still considered inspired (yes by some, no by others), there remains a need to try to understand the prophetic books that point to the end times. If the Bible is true, is it the end now or not?

    JCanon's posts are overwhelming, to say the least, but I like to try wading thru them because, right or wrong, he is trying to make sense of the prophetic literature. Some people have had enough and throw up their hands and say that God doesn't exist or the Bible is uninspired, etc. Some here were never Witnesses, but are still trying to make sense of Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation.

    I believe in God, but I'm frustated that He has been so ambiguous in His info with us. I personally have doubts as to the Bible being inspired. Yet, it nags at me the things a few of these visionaries said. Was the writer of Daniel yanking our chain as the beginning of a running joke? And having seen it, the writer of Revelation decides to REALLY mess with our minds? I have trouble buying that. Granted, I/we could be wrong and it really is all just myth, and time seems to be busy supporting that notion.

    JCanon and others who speculate on chronology may be dead wrong, but I admire them because they haven't yet thrown in the towel. Maybe they (we, I) should. But for mathmetically stimulated minds, it's a puzzle we feel we can solve if given enough time and the ability to look at it from just the correct angle.

    Crazy? I suppose, to some. But for some of us, our check book HAS to balance to the penny every month for year after year or we have to do the math to find out why.

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