Why do JWs reject the 587/586 BCE date?

by Doug Mason 11 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    I do not want this to develop into another discussion on "607 BCE date is wrong".

    When the A-E section of "Aid to Bible Understanding" was published, I was able to show that the article on "Chronology" employed deceptive techniques when it cited its sources. Whenever I provided JWs the evidence in print, it was like water off a duck's back. "The brothers in Brooklyn have done all the research, write to them", they would tell me.

    I soon recognised that the JWs followed the WTS because of who it claimed to be.

    It became clear that another, stronger force existed--the impact of shunning with the loss of close friendships and with the impact on their family relationships.

    One could only stand by with concern thinking of the impact of the cognitive dissonance and observing the regular changes requiring lock-step obedience. What was anathema one day became orthodoxy, only to become anathema once more

    I now see a reason why the JWs I knew would look forward to changes, probably with the hope that their internal beliefs had become policy.

    Today we see the same, with the WTS being deemed "celebrated scholars". The scenario has not changed.

    I can only guess that those JWs who keep in contact with the WTS's "chronology guru" (RF) would be concerned at his personal opprobrium should any of his fans openly disavow him.


  • Finkelstein

    The answer to this question is that most JWs dont even know about the most commonly recognized date of Jerusalem's destruction.

    They take whatever the WTS says with confidence and acceptance.

    The fact based reality is that starting from the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 going up to 539 - 537 was only 49 -51 years of desolation of the land.

    The WTS's assertion that Jerusalem fell in 607 is not back by archaeological evidence or the bible .

  • OnTheWayOut

    At one time, 1914 was the end of the last days and Armageddon was to arrive. Originally, 1914 was 40 years, the then-current application of a literal 'generation,' past 1874. That was when the last days began until they changed it. They put a lot of effort into changing it, what with re-inventing everything they said.

    So with so much invested in 607BCE being used to prove 1914 was 'the beginning' of the last days, of course your average JW won't even be interested in some crazy apostate lies that insist that 607 is wrong. "Watchtower chose it because it was so clearly well-established as fact. They told us so."

  • Phizzy

    I agree with the Posts above. But, I would say if the discussion comes up with a JW, do not hold back through lack of hope that it will have an effect.

    As a born-in a little drip drip of checkable facts is what eventually woke me up, as is usual with a JW such as I was, these niggling things were shoved to the back of my mind, thinking they would be explained by the Org sometime, until the Cognitive Dissonance built up to such a scream within me, that I could ignore it no more.

    All you guys keep up your efforts, you never know, a seed or two planted may grow in the end.

  • btlc

    We seriously question all the claims of Astrology, but if it says something that fit us, it could be true. So much of the scholar approach to the matter:

  • LeeT


    Why do JWs reject the 587/586 BCE date?

    They have a misplaced trust in the authority of whatever the publications and broadcasts say, failure to do so displeases Jehovah. Motivated reasoning means all humans tend to accept what a trusted source says and treat untrusted sources with scepticism. Looking for a balanced range of opinions and basing conclusions on an investigation of such is anathema to them. To adapt a quote from the Scopes monkey trial, JW's don't think about things they don't want to think about and aren't good at thinking about the things they do want to think about.

    This half hour lecture in 3 parts by RJ Downard, though largely about Young Earth Creationism, in a broader sense covers the psychology of why people come to be convinced by bad ideas.
    The Absurdity of Religion : Tortucan Traps [1of3]

    The Absurdity of Religion : Tortucan Traps [2of3]

    The Absurdity of Religion : Tortucan Traps [3of3]

  • dozy

    Further to what previous posters have said , you also have to remember that the average JW really doesn't care less about anything "deep". As an experiment , go to a JW trolley / magazine stand and ask the pioneers to explain from the scriptures how they come to 607 BCE when all the authorities say it is 586/7. There are a few examples on Youtube of this. eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgTanYOAjRo

    Invariably the pioneer looks anxious , suspicious , has a "deer in the headlights" look and then they tell the questioner to go to JW.Org ( "our website has all the answers"). Persist and they might make an effort , but most would struggle to give any coherent explanation or even find the relevant scriptures scattered all over the bible to support it - time , times and half a time in Revelation , the image of Daniel etc etc. Note what the pioneer says in the above Youtube clip "I'd have to go back and do some research on it." It's a core teaching , totally fundamental to JW theology. They shouldn't need to have to do that.

    JWs ( including myself , for 40 years ) just broadly accept whatever the Society tells them without any real thought process , which is why they are so ready just to shrug off any changes , such as the various flip flops / abusurdities of the "generation" doctrine. When I tell my dog to go into the car or to fetch a stick, it doesn't hang around and ask questions. It just does it ( usually! ). Frankly - 586/7 / 607 doesn't matter , because what keeps JWs as JWs isn't really about doctrine. It's family , community , hope , fear , habit etc.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Why do JWs reject 587/6 BCE?

    Because tribal loyalty gives an ego-soothing personal validation and an identity. To the fragile mind of a JW, this is far more important than facts or a rational argument.

    It's a case of "My religion right or wrong."

  • Finkelstein

    JWS are indoctrinated to accept and believe everything the WTS(GB) say or teach , why ?

    because they are god’s solemn chosen ones, to not accept their teachings is an act of apostasy condemning oneself in the eyes of god.

    So from that psychological indoctrination it’s easy to why most JWS just accept whatever the GB say, without any critical thinking.👨‍🎓

  • Ultimate Axiom
    Ultimate Axiom

    The debate over 607/606 v 587 is not new. In the October 1st Watchtower 1904 page 296 (RP 3436) the following letter was published;

    Russell’s answer covered several pages and included the following;

    He then went on to explain how the year 587 would do irreparable damage to his parallel dispensations theories published in his "Divine Plan of The Ages".

    Thus JWs reject 587 purely on the basis of Russell's parallel dispensation, although they don't actually know that.

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