1975 on the back burner

by Fisherman 46 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    blondie, one of the very first WT books my JW father studied with my sister and I (my sister and I were very young children at the time) was the 1958 WT book called From Paradise Lost To Paradise Regained. I have a hard cover print edition of that very old book published from well before 1987. [That copy which I currently have says "3,250,000 Edition" and is in excellent condition; I bought it to replace my first copy (which my sister and I previously shared) because its cover had become very worn and because my sister had colored in some of the pictures. I am confident that the text is the same in both editions.]

    In paragraph 7 of chapter one (on page 10) the book says the following. 'The time had now come to start getting the earth ready for the animals and humans that would later live on it. So a period began that the Bible calls the "first day." That was not a day of twenty-four hours, but was instead 7,000 years long.' The next sentence on the page is the start of paragraph 8 and it says the following. "During this first creative day the cloud of darkness was taken away from between the earth and the sun. Paragraph 11 (on page 11) says: "But during the second creative day of 7,000 years Jehovah God caused a division between the ocean and the clouds." Paragraph 20 (on page 13) says 'When the fourth creative ended, 28,000 years had passed since God said; "Let light come to be," and since God had begun preparing the earth for living creatures.'

    The second paragraph of chapter two (on page 18) says the following. "It was near the end of the sixth creative day. This means that nearly 42,000 years had passed from when God said: "Let light come to be." Five creative days of 7,000 each had gone by and now the sixth day was almost finished.'

    Another WT book I studied with my sister, with our father conducting the study, was the 1969 WT book called Is the Bible really the Word of God? That was one of the key WT books which convinced me to become baptized in the early 1980s. I still own the copy of that book (which is "First Edition, 3,000,000 COPIES") which I obtained as a preteen child. Chapter 2 of that book is called "Genesis Account of Creation --Fact or Fiction?" The first full paragraph of page 19 (part of that chapter) says the following. 'So it is plain that the word "day" can be used to refer to a twenty-four-hour day, a person's lifetime, 1,000 years or even longer. In fact, on the basis of the length of the seventh "day," there is reason to believe that each creative period or 'day" was 7,000 years in length.' In my copy of the book I have a note that my sister, I, and my father studied that paragraph on "6-6-78".

    The "Revised 1970 C.E." edition of the 1961 copyright NWT on page 1461 in the "TABLE OF THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE" in the column called "Time Covered (B.C.E.) says the following regarding the events of the book of Genesis: "After 1:2: 46,026-1657". [By the way, my oldest copy of that NWT edition is the one I used to give my very first kingdom hall talk, a Bible reading with introduction (though my mother wrote the introduction for me), when I was only 8 years old - years before I became baptized]. Notice that this 1970 Bible edition says the first creative day began 46,026 years before the common era, thus indicating that according to the WT 48,000 years would be completed in the year 1975 C.E. (46,026 years plus 1975 years minus one year [since there was no year between 1 BCE and 1 CE] equals 48,000 years). Adding a future 1,000 year portion for the reign of Christ would make a time period equal to 49,000 years, which would thus consist of 7 creative years of 7,000 years each.

    The above are just a few examples showing that before the year 1980 CE that the WT for more than a decade taught that each creative day was 7,000 years long - not 6,000 years long. Furthermore, I remember reading in a volume of Studies in the Scriptures that Charles Taze Russell taught that each creative day was 7,000 years long.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Correction: In my prior post where I said "... which would thus consist of 7 creative years of 7,000 years each" I should have said "... which would thus consist of 7 creative days of 7,000 years each".

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    scholar, I notice you said "In just two years' time, 2025 we will celebrate the fact of the biblical significance of 1975 with the passing of its Jubilee of 50 years ...". Since in early BCE times in each Jubilee of 50 years something significant was to take place in accordance with Mosaic law (such as the returning of land to the tribes which previously owned them, releasing of people from their debts, and the freeing of slaves), are you saying something of similar magnitude and significance will definitely happen in the year 2025 CE?

    https://www.tearfund.org.au/stories/jubilee-in-the-bible says the following. "The Jubilee year – occurring after every seventh Sabbath year, thus, every 50 years – is an economic, cultural, environmental and communal reset, when the land and people rest, and all those who are in slavery are set free to return to their communities. The Jubilee laws are essentially concerned with social relationship, economic security, stability and the wellbeing of the community."

    https://www.jw.borg/en/library/magazines/watchtower-study-december-2019/jehovah-provides-for-your-liberty/ [in the URL edit "borg" to "org"] says the following.

    "We will examine a better jubilee, even better than the year-long festival that was proclaimed every 50 years in ancient Israel. That ancient Jubilee brought liberty to the people who observed it. Why is that of interest to us today? Because Israel’s Jubilee year reminds us of a wonderful provision for lasting liberty that Jehovah is making even now, liberty that Jesus spoke about.​

    ... In the preceding article, we considered how the Israelites benefited from the weekly Sabbath. How, though, did the Israelites benefit from the Jubilee? Well, suppose an Israelite had fallen into debt and, as a result, had been forced to sell his land to pay off the debt. During the Jubilee year, that land was to be returned to him. Therefore, the man could “return to his property,” and the future inheritance of his children would not be lost. In another case, a man who fell on hard times might have had to sell one of his children​—or even himself—​into slavery in order to pay a debt. During the Jubilee year, the slave was to “return to his family.” So no one would become a slave permanently with no hope! How thoughtful of Jehovah!

    ... The symbolic Jubilee that began with the anointing of Christ’s followers in 33 C.E. will end at the conclusion of Jesus’ Thousand Year Reign. What will have been accomplished by that time?"

  • Jeffro

    Obviously Adam and Eve are fictitious tropes from a primitive creation myth that was adapted from parts of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

    But setting that fact aside, JW chronology is hopelessly wrong not only because of their erroneous botched interpretation of the neo-Babylonian period but also because of their (Protestant) interpretation that the Israelites ‘going into slavey in Egypt’ started when Isaac was briefly teased by his half-brother, long before there were any Israelites. 🤦‍♂️ (This apologetic nonsense was adopted because the more ostensible beginning of the period from when Jacob - aka Israel - supposedly went into Egypt contradicts other biblical chronology.)

    It can’t be stressed enough that no part of those stories is historical. But if we are to pretend that they are, then based on what the Bible actually says, 6,000 years since Adam’s creation would actually have ended in 1833.

  • Phizzy

    My aged memory may be faulty, but did they back-track on the 7,000 year long "Creative days" once, and say those days were of indeterminate length, or am I confusing them with something I have read from a slightly more rational source than J W org ?

    As Jeffro rightly points out, it is all nonsense when you look at the literary origin of the Eden Story. And as Jeffro has ably shown many times, the 1914 thing is the most utter, monumental, nonsense.

  • KalebOutWest

    To answer peacefulpete:

    Genesis 1 says man and woman were made at the same time. So which creation story is more authoritative?

    Upon returning to my Jewish roots after leaving my "lovely time" studying Watcthowers for about a decade (actually I loved my aunt, she was a very nice woman regardless of her odd beliefs), this is what I eventually learned in Hebrew school.

    Genesis chapter 1 is likely the last part of the Torah ever written--the newest section. (Funny, huh?) But this is often true with most books even today. Once you know how a book ends (in this case, Deuteronomy), you want to start the book with a "bang."

    There are several creation "myths" (origin stories that followed a format common to Bronze Age Mesopotamia) in Genesis, and this one sets the stage for older creation myth that follows (one that was likely composed in Babylonian exile).

    Neither is more "authoritative" than the other in Judaism as they are not specifying a time period, but a law, as this Torah, not history as the Watchtower teaches. Remember in Judaism, Genesis through Deuteronomy make up the Mosaic Law, not a Jewish history book, and therefore any narrative within is designed to teach a lesson to set legal precedence, not to explain what happened in the past.

    The "days" in Genesis chapter 1 are actually a common narrative device in Mesopotamian storytelling. If you notice the first 3 days actually repeat themselves in the last 3 days, where day 1 sets the stage for day 4, day 2 for 5, and 3 for 6, creating a high degree of symmetry (for instance, God says: "Let there be light" on day 1, "setting the stage" for the 4th day where God creates the luminaries of the sun, moon and stars, then on day 2 God creates the heavens to separate the waters on earth from the waters of the cosmos, "setting the stage" for the 5th day where God creates the birds to fly in the sky and the fish to swim in the seas, etc.)

    The narrative ends with the creation of humans, made "in God's image" who rests on the Sabbath. This tells the Jews that they too, since they are in God's image, must rest on the Sabbath and obey the Law.

    This is a prologue for the older story that follows next, where Adam and Eve want to be "like God," even though they are already in God's image. After they steal from God, they cover themselves up, considering themselves "naked," hating their "image," feeling shame. When God called for Adam in the garden, Adam 'fails to listen.' The story is about breaking one of the Ten Commandments (stealing), symbolizing the Jews losing the Promised Land and their Temple due to breaking the covenant, looking back from the exile in Babylon and wondering if they will ever get back.

    It is very interesting how and why various Christian movement developed time prophecies from these stories. Jews never read them as history. When you open a Jewish Bible and simply read the footnotes and any study appendix that may be added, it is all there. Yet it remains highly ignored.

    I recall when I lived among the Witnesses, studying about 1975 since the elder who studied the Live Forever book with me came in the Watchtower religion due to the 1975 fervor. I also recall how when I was young someone in my town had black-and-white posters and stickers printed and stuck them all over the place in 1975 that read "Jehovah is coming." I never made the connection back then until I met him and we talked about it. He didn't recall the stickers, but I did, and I thought it was all so very odd.

    I also remember doing extra research on many of the calculations used. Most of them are borrowed from the Millerites and Adventism. The most frightening I learned was that much of this is based on the failed prediction of the Great Disappointment of 1844.

    Remember 1874, the original date for the "invisible presence" of Christ? They changed it to 1914. Where did they get that? Russell decided that it was prophecied to add "thirty years" to the Great Disappointment of 1844, and that would end in 1874. In other words, Russell was just saying Christ was testing people to see if people would still wait for him after being disappointed the first time to therefore notice him coming in full invisibility 30 years later in 1874.--Millenial Dawn, "Thy KIngdom Come" (Vol III), 1st Ed, 1891, pp 123, 124.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    KalebOutWest I own a copy of Isaac Leeser's Holy Scriptures Jewish Bible (but not a study edition) and the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) translation of 1917, and I used to own the newer JPS translation (which did have many alternate readings and alternate renderings). I also used to own the Alexander Harkavy Jewish Bible (and maybe I have a copy of it on CD-ROM), but I never saw any study notes in those Bibles. Granted there are footnotes and appendixes in some of them, and an introduction, but I don't recall that any of them say that Genesis through Deuteronomy, though being Torah/Law are not also history. [If some of them say such, please tell me where they say it.] Granted those books are listed in the table of contents under Law, whereas others (including owns of a purported historical nature) are listed under Prophets, and others under Writings.

    Judaism counts time from the date of the alleged creation of Adam (and the world) and such is even mentioned in "General Remarks" to my copy of Leeser's Bible. For example it says the following. "According to Dr. Zunz, the creation of the world dates 3988 before the common era. The flood, in 1656 after the creation. Abram born at Ur 1948. Jacob goes to Egypt, 2238. Moses born, 2418. .... Juddua' high priest, 3656, and under him, two years later, Palestine is conquered by Alexander of Macedon.These few dates, it is hoped, will elucidate, with the Bible text, the history of the Scriptures."

    So, where I can I specifically go to see Jewish Bibles or some other Jewish books saying that Genesis through Deuteronomy are not books of history and not to be understood as books of history? When I shop at thrift stores (specifically Goodwill Outlet stores) and see numerous books there on many days, including numerous Christian books, I rarely see any Jewish books (except books about rituals and about history of the Jewish people, including their secular history).

  • Fisherman

    So, where I can I specifically go to see Jewish Bibles or some other Jewish books

    Soncino Books of the Bible is a great reference. Rashi Torah with Onkelos with English Translation by Rosenbaum and Silverman, Magil’s Linear.

  • KalebOutWest

    Try The Jewish Study Bible which houses the latest revision, the 1985 JPS English translation of the Hebrew Bible. The introduction to Genesis and the footnotes to Genesis chapter 1 will not only tell you what I wrote, but also give you a table demonstrating the tableu motif of how days 1-3 of the creative week set the stage for days 4-6. Not only is this the standard English translation accepted by all denominations (and created by them), the footnotes and study materials were created by the best scholars from all Jewish denominations as well.

    Another Jewish Bible of interest is the one created by Conservative movement. Using the same NJPS English text, but also housing the Masoretic text, it has their scholars giving commentary representing the views of Conservative Judaism. Known as Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary, it was not only lightly referenced in my post, it also teaches such things such as the Exodus not being historical and Moses not being a historical figure--which is common in Judaism.

    Why do we Jews count our years the way we do if we agree that the Genesis account is a Biblical myth? Blame Rabbi Yose ben Halafta of the 2nd century CE and then thank Maimonides of the 12th century CE.

    First, Halafta tried to create a calendar based on a tradition from the Talmud that Adam was created on the first day of Rosh Hashana. His calculations weren't very good, and Jews basically ignored his ideas.

    But around the middle ages, Jews decided they needed a calendar of their own, perhaps in response to presure from Christian society. Halafta's calendar tried to calculate the day based on the Torah's narrative that Adam was created on the 6th day, but the year and the system didn't always seem to work. The new moons didn't match, festival days would disappear or end up on the wrong month or in different season. It was not scientific.

    But Jews liked the tradition of it all, and it fit the liturgy. So keeping the ideas, the famous scholar Maimonides found ways to fix it, finding a way of inserting leap months, and having to reset the entire calendar (which required to drop an entire year). We use this system to this day.

    The Maimonides system actually begins with the year "0," which is unusual for a calendar, even though Jews cannot guaratee that Adam and Eve were real people--but it fixed a lot of problems and helped to preserve some of the system.

    One last source, though not always agreeing with all the points I mentioned, but they do debate them--whether the Exodus is historical for instance or Moses wrote any of the Torah--is produced by Orthodox (you read that correctly) scholars, and can be found online at https://www.thetorah.com/. I have heard from Orthodox rabbis of Yeshiva students crying when learning that Moses not writing the Torah, and now what?

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Fisherman, but do those specific Jewish books (the ones you listed) say that Genesis through Deuteronomy are not books of history and not to be understood as books of history? I want to see specific Jewish books which say what KalebOutWest said about Jews not considering the Torah to be history. Also, pretty much the only place I can find Jewish commentary books (in English) is online and at "Powell's Books" store.

    Update: KalebOutWest has now provided a list of books.

    Ah yes, The Jewish Study Bible is a good book. I have never owned it but I think I have seen that Jewish study Bible at the local library.

    Regarding "how days 1-3 of the creative week set the stage for days 4-6" I have read of that in some theologically liberal Christian books and websites, and that the view thus enables some Christians to reconcile biological evolution with the book of Genesis. For example, I have seen it described in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha - Expanded Edition - RSV and in an edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha - NRSV.

    Thanks KalebOutWest for the references and other information.

Share this