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

by Alleymom 147 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Pistoff

    Pleasuredome said:

    the only thing is is that for 587bc to be right, where do the 70 years of sabaths that the land had to pay back fit in?

    All of this whole discussion seems to hang on the concept that the 70 years is NECESSARILY literal. Of course, as JW's we were trained to think so, and to swallow whole all of the other blathering about day for a year, blah blah blah.

    If it is a prophecy, does it have to be literal? Is there any other instance that suggests that it might be a figure of speech?

    JCanon: You said that this arcane maze of dates and supposition leaves WTS in the running to be God's organization; why would you follow the rather linear and limited idea that God has only one? Did he just change organizations when Jesus died or did the whole concept of having to belong to a certain nation/group go right out the window with women being unclean for a time after their periods?

  • Pleasuredome

    is 144,000 a literal number? is lord lucan still alive (i thought i saw him at e'mans bbq)?

    it's up to the individual to decide whether something is symbolic or literal. some things can make sense in one way, as well as the other or not much sense either way. sometimes we get things muddled with because of the way we want to view things, and we can pick and choose.

    607-587 isn't in the least bit significant to me because of what i said earlier. but then thats just my own take on it.

  • RunningMan

    An absolutely excellent piece of research, Marjorie. I will be archiving this simple piece of logic for use on JWs.

    Regardless of some of the twaddle that has been posted in rebuttal, I find your writeup to be logically irrefutable. You have used the society's own words to crush the 607 date (which incidentally is the starting point for proving 1914 - the entire foundation of the religion).

  • Alleymom

    JCanon --

    Are you sure you're in the right place <smiling>? This was supposed to be Chronology 101 (aka Chronology for Dummies).

    But, seriously --- you've obviously researched certain areas of this issue very thoroughly, but when I read your posts I keep noting that you appear to be unfamiliar with, or have overlooked, other aspects of the problem. IOW, it seems to me you're missing the forest for the trees.

    Right now, though, I think your long series of questions has probably confused anyone who doesn't really care about all the ins and outs but who just wants to know one thing: is the WTS's date of 607 BCE correct or not?

    For people who aren't really interested in history or chronology per se, the question isn't so much one of when Jerusalem WAS destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar as when it WASN'T. If it wasn't destroyed in 607 BCE, then the WTS's claim (that Jesus returned in 1914 and chose them to be his channel of truth) is bogus. For these people, it's more an investigation of the WTS and its claims than a deep fascination with the history of the Ancient Near East, beginning with the neo-Babylonian empire and extending through the period of the Persians.

    For all those who want to stick with the K.I.S.S. approach (Keep it simple, sweetie!) ---

    Pretend, for just a minute, that you're back in high school, suffering through a class on World History. The teacher has assigned everyone to work in teams to create a huge timeline. She has put up a long line of dates stretching from one end of the back wall to the other. Your team's mission is to prepare a strip of colored construction paper representing the neo-Babylonian empire. After you have made the strip the right length and labeled all the kings, your strip will be taped above the timeline at the right date. Other teams are working on strips for other civilizations.

    The strip of paper represents the relative chronology of the neo-Babylonian empire. Your team may be successful in preparing a strip of just the right length with every king known and named. It may be 100% correct in all the details, depending on how well you do your research. But until the strip is taped down above the right date on the big timeline across the back wall, it is just a floating chronology. There aren't any dates on it at all. There are only names of kings separated by vertical lines representing the beginning and end of their reigns.

    Once your team is finished with the strip, it can be taped to the timeline. But to do that, you have to have an anchor point.

    In the first message of this thread, I suggested that we take the Watchtower's own date of 539 BCE as an anchor point. They emphasize in their literature that this is a date which is accepted by secular historians. I recently had an elder give me a packet of WT articles on chronology. One of the articles, "The Book of Truthful Historical Dates," from the 8/15/1968 WT has a long list of secular historians and Bible scholars who all accept 539 BCE as the date when Babylon fell to Persian forces.

    If we take the Watchtower's own anchor date of 539 BCE, we know where to tape the right edge of our strip of paper. The neo-Babylonian empire ended in 539, when Babylon fell to the Persians. We stretch our strip of paper out carefully so there aren't any wrinkles and we tape down the whole thing.

    But, wait! One anxious girl in the group (who has to get her A or die) starts obsessing. Did we make our strip of paper the right length? Do we have all the names of the kings, and are they in the right order? Our grade will depend on whether we used good sources for our information. "Relax," we tell her. We used information that came right from an organization which says it is God's own channel of truth.

    What source did we use? We used WT literature. In the second message of this thread, I quoted from WT articles and books which give the names of the kings (and their successors, without any gaps) and the length of their reigns. This all comes right from the WT, but if we check the long list of references in "The Book of Truthful Historical Dates," we see that secular historians and Bible scholars agree .

    So our strip of paper is just the right length, and we have attached it to the timeline on the wall at 539 BCE.

    We should get an A, right? In fact, we should get 100% on our project.

    But to our dismay the teacher fails us all! What?!

    She tells us that her answer book (published by the WTBTS) gives check points for evaluating our projects. Her answer book says that the 19 th year of Nebuchadnezzar should fall right above the date of 607 BCE on the timeline. But on our strip of paper, the line for Nebuchadnezzar's 19 th year is placed above the date 586. So we are wrong, and we fail.

    Something isn't right here! We used WT information for the strip of paper (the relative chronology) and we used WT information to anchor the strip to the right place on the timeline (539 BCE). How can the WT answer book say we are wrong?

    Anyone who worked on the project knows that the answer book must be wrong. Jerusalem was NOT destroyed in 607 BCE. This is not Nebuchadnezzar's 19 th year (or 18 th year). Nebuchadnezzar isn't even the king yet!

    But what about the rest of the class? They're sure the teacher and her answer book must be right. Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE and we're all a bunch of rebellious independent thinkers and we're going to flunk, nyah, nyah, nyah! The teacher is a little nicer and says we just have to wait on the Publisher to explain the things we don't understand, but that we do have to take our seats and be quiet or we're going to be thrown out of the class.

    Those with more than a cursory interest in history may want to delve deeper into questions of cuneiform sources, astronomical diaries, VAT4956, Ptolemy, Josephus, Xerses and Artaxerses, etc. It's true that scholars have wrestled with some thorny problems in the Persian period, in particular.

    But if you start to do research and find yourself getting overwhelmed by the details, remember two things:

    --- Using the WT's own date of 539 BCE and the WT's own list of kings and reigns, if you construct a timeline you will NEVER arrive at 607 BCE for the fall of Jerusalem.

    --- Scholars disagree about many things, but not one scholar in the world agrees with the WTS's date of 607 BCE. Not one. Not the Assyriologists, not the secular historians, not the archaeologists, not the Christian Bible scholars, not the Jewish scholars and rabbis, not the college professors, not the museum curators. Search as you may, there is no scholarly support whatsoever for 607 BCE.

    In the article "The Book of Truthful Historical Dates" (8/15/1968 WT) the WT has a very long list of scholars who support the pivotal date of 539 BCE. But what they never tell you, and what most Witnesses will never find out, is that those same scholars all agree on 586/587 for the fall of Jerusalem.


    Marjorie Alley

  • JCanon
    You can argue all day about the records being correct or not, but her point is that the WTS accepts the Babylonian records and by using those records you can disprove their own 607 theory. It doesn't matter if the records are right or not. The WTS has accepted them as right. If the records are wrong then the WTS has accepted wrong information as correct.

    I agree, sort of. What the WTS has done is looked at certain records and other records and decided which ones they felt were reliable and which ones they felt were not as reliable and went from there. But there is some criticism there. For instance, they actually quote from the "Strm. Kambyses 400" text to establish an astronomical assignment for year 7 of Kambyses to 523BCE. This document is later-dated than the VAT4956 which assigns in the same manner the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar to 568BCE, a date they can't deal with since it dates the fall of Jerusalem in 587BCE. So they dismiss the text as reflecting "popular chronology", which means they consider it to be erroneous and revised. Which is fine. That's a legitimate argument for a non-contemporary astronomical text occurring 300 years after the fact, BUT...you can apply the same dismissal to the SK400, so....what have they proved?

    I don't think God's earthly organization would be allowed to make that kind of mistake. If the records are correct, then the WTS chronology trying to prove 607 to 1914 is wrong. Either way, they have erred and obviously do not know as much about Bible history or chronology as they pretend. Would God allow his true worshippers to be that confused and allow them to broadcast false information as gospel truth?

    This presumption is reasonable, but it is not correct, that is, it is nonspecific, Biblically. The reason why is because the GB of "god's organization" was always prophesied to "make itself a god" in God's house and would become apostate. This is the Lamb-Dragon beast coming out of the earth, meaning God's organization (compared to the sea= Christendom, the 666 Beast), and is later specifically called the "false prophet" in Relation. So, one would expect false prophecies from this apostate "god" who takes over God's organization. So thinking that the earthly organization would no be "allowed to make that kind of a mistake" is presumptive and not Biblically accurate. Your reference here, is the parable of the "wheat and weeds" where God started the organization with wheat being planted, then the Devil came and planted weeds, even before the organization started to grow, before the blades of wheat came up. When they did begin to show up, 1914-1918, then the weeds were there also (i.e. Rutherford declaring Russell as the "Faithful Slave" and "angel of the congregation of Laodicea"--later to call Russell followers "creature worship"). So you had a situation where God's organization was already corrupted. But what did God do? Get rid of the weeds at this point? No. He said: "Let the two grow up together until the harvest." At that late point, at the very end, the wheat would be separated from the weeds and the "evil slave" and the "man of lawlessness" (GB of JW) would be exposed as a false prophet. The absolute truth, thus, would be given to the "wise virgins" in the organization who were paying more attention to the Bible than the Watchtower at this point, having seen some of the false teachings by now of the apostate "man of lawlessness".

    Remember, the "evil slave" is part of God's house in the beginning, a trusted slave. It just fails its assignment. Thus, technically, the false teachings are consistent with God's organization, and not visa versa. It's up to the "wise virgins" to separate out what is weed (Watchtower dogma) versus what is wheat (purely Biblical).

    So the false teachings would not disqualify the witnesses as "god's organization" (up until 1996, anyway), and actually tends to confirm the leaders as the "evil slave" and "false prophet", which of course, means they would have to have some false prophecies exposed at some point which is what we are seeing.

    So whether one has true prophecies or not is not an absolute test for "God's organization" which was prophesied to be a wheat-weed organization and produce the "false prophet".

    But lots of people reasonably make that basic presumption, otherwise, being true; but not specifically in this case.


  • JCanon
    The truth is simple, easily explained, and requires no backup because it is self-validating. So simple that god could cause a stone to teach it to you.

    Very good point! But this is understood to be a PERIPHERAL discussion by Biblicalists. That's because the Bible's own chronology is interconnected and once you have one good date event you can date everything else by the Bible and forget about the confusing "artifacts", documents you don't know if they are telling the truth or not. This is what Martin Anstey did. He used the Bible first and when he found irreconcilable problems in the pagan chronology compared to the Bible, he wisely dismissed the pagan chronology as corrupt.

    So God does not expect you to be bothered with these artifacts, but the Bible. If you use the Bible, you'll get the right chronology.

    ONL NOW...there is one pivotal artifact that preempts everything, and that's the VAT4956, because it double-dates year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar. That means there were two dates during the Persian period for Nebuchadnezzar, obviously one revised date and one original. The 511BCE would be the original dating. So if you wanted to, (like me) you could use that one text as a basis for dating and you don't have to worry about any of the other stuff. You can do that because it is absolute dating. That is it doesn't just give you an event you have to coordinate into a historical frame, it gives you a SPECIFIC astronomical year to deal with: 511BCE and 568BCE. No discussion, no revision, no options. Take it or leave it. Plus 568BCE being the pretext date is the false date, 511BCE being the subtext date is the original date. So basically it is now incompetent to continue to considering there was no conspiracy and that the texts dating the fall of Jerusalem in 587BCE is still viable. It just isn't.

    On the Biblical front though, the 511BCE dating is the same as the Bible's. The Bible chronology rests on 29CE when Christ got baptized. No one objects to that date, the 15th of Tiberius. 483 years earlier was the "word going forth to rebuild Jerusalem" which was the 1st of Cyrus, which is dated to 455BCE. You add 70 years of exile to that to the time of the last deportation, per Josephus and the Bible, to arrive at 525BCE for the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar. From this point, you can then date all the events well-documented in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Of course, year 37 falls in 511BCE---big surprise; it was the original dating, now proven by the VAT4956.

    Thus all discussions that don't deal with the VAT4956 reference to 511BCE as the original date for year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar are outdated discussions and mean nothing but error and fantasy.

    If you're going to use the ancient records, then use them. Right now the best reference is the VAT4956's exposure of the revisionism and it's dating the original year 37 of Neb-2 to 511BCE; a date that agrees with the Bible's, so the discussion is over.

    Just remember, the VAT4956 is unique because it's not simply a competitive text that gives 511BCE for year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar. It gives you BOTH dates! Thus it confirms the conspiracy. This text was used for the dating earlier and now we know that dating is false per the text itself. Not updating at this point is simply spurious.



  • JCanon
    All of this whole discussion seems to hang on the concept that the 70 years is NECESSARILY literal. Of course, as JW's we were trained to think so, and to swallow whole all of the other blathering about day for a year, blah blah blah.

    Sorry, this is no longer a valid argument. The reason being is that the Jewish historian Josephus gives his own reference to the direct application of Jeremiah's prophecy about the 70 years, and yes, he does indeed consider them LITERAL and thus because this is a secular reference you NECESSARILY must consider them as literal years; Josephus' reference in contest to the pagan Babylonian records. There is no option in this regard because of this reference. Here it is:

    IN the first year of the reign of Cyrus which was the seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their own land into Babylon. God commiserated the captivity and calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to them by Jeremiah the prophet, before the destruction of the city, that after they had served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and after they had undergone that servitude seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity. And these things God did afford them; for he stirred up the mind of Cyrus and made him write this throughout all Asia "Thus saith Cyrus the king: Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem in the country of Judea."

    So the Jews considered the 70 years as literal, beginning from the time the people went off the land, that is the last deportation, thus the LITERAL 70 years are dated from year 23 of Nebuchadnezzar, to the 1st of Cyrus.

    This reference, therefore precludes anyone who may find a need to turn the 70 years into some other type of reference if one thought the Bible was being vague about it. The only criteria with this reference is to compare it with the Bible to see if the scenario of the 70 years beginning in year 23 works or is contradicted in any way by the Bible, and it doesn't.

    So sorry, but we must NECESSARILY consider it literal whether we like it or not, and whether or not the WTS has come up with a literal interpretation spuriously or not. It's not about the WTS' take on the 70 years; Josephus is the reference we must deal with.


  • Dansk


    Where the heck were you in the mid 80s? I'd have saved myself 19 years of blindness and pain had I had your information to hand.

    A great, simplistic post!



  • JCanon
    *** it-1 p. 453 Chronology *** For Awil-Marduk (Evil-merodach, 2Ki 25:27, 28), tablets dated up to his second year of rule have been found. For Neriglissar, considered to be the successor of Awil-Marduk, contract tablets are known dated to his fourth year

    Okay, I get it. I make a similar argument regarding the Bible claiming that the 70 years began with the last deportation in year 23 as well as Josephus, from whom the Society quotes, but they insist on dating it from the fall of Babylon.

    However, I think your references to the reign of Ewil-Merodach are out of context with what the Society has said about it. If I'm not mistaken, I believe the reference to the contract tablets being found only up to the second year was part of a discussion that talked about lengthening the reign of Ewil-Merodach from 2 years to 22 years.

    I do know that for Josephus in his chronologies, to make up for the 70 years, he adds 20 years to Evil-Merodach, making his rule 22 years. I think the WTS follows suit. In which case, you can't really claim a KISS argument here since you are not accurately quoting what the WTS truly states.

    If you can, since you have the WTS CD, could you look up "Ewil-Merodach" and post the entire article or anything referencing the length of his reign. In that way, we will know if the WTS just didn't notice it didn't have enough years or whether they did, in fact, think they could make up the 20 years during the reign of Ewil-Merodach.

    I'll try to hunt down Josephus' chronology in this regard and post it....


    But I agree! It doesn't work if you leave Evil-Merodach at just 2 years, which I think the WTS doesn't always do, so...


  • Alleymom

    Island woman and No one and others I haven't answered --

    Thanks for your thoughtful messages. This board moves so quickly that I'm having trouble keeping up, but I promise I'll get back to you!



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