What year was Jesus born? What year did he die? Do Witnesses know?

by garybuss 7 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • garybuss

    Here's the Watch Tower's date of Jesus's death and installation in God's kingdom.
    *** w82 9/15 pp. 12-13 The Kingdom and “a Holy Place” ***
    3 Because of the apostasy of the Jews, who murdered even the Son of God, the earthly Jerusalem was cast off, abandoned by God. (Matthew 23:37, 38) However, a far grander Jerusalem continued to be favored by Jehovah. Galatians 4:26 calls it the “Jerusalem above.” It is Jehovah’s “woman,” his own heavenly wifelike organization. It was this Jerusalem that brought forth God’s spiritual Son, Jesus Christ, who, in the year 33 CE, gave “his [human] soul a ransom” in behalf of mankind.—Matthew 20:28.
    4 After Jesus’ resurrection in the spirit, he was exalted to the right hand of his heavenly Father. At the appointed time, in 1914 CE, Jehovah installed him in his kingdom, which Hebrews 12:22 also associates with the name Jerusalem, calling it the “heavenly Jerusalem.” This kingdom would, in due course, destroy Satan’s wicked system and restore paradise to our earth.—Matthew 6:9, 10.
    The appointment doctrine says Jesus's ministry was 3 1/2 years on earth. After Jesus's installation in God's kingdom in 1914, he began his 3 1/2 year inspection of the earth's religions and appointed Joe Rutherford as His channel in 1918.
    Question #1. What year was Jesus born?
    Question #2. How does that affect the appointment teaching?

  • garybuss

    This is not a good topic for a Sunday.

    Matthew 2
    13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
    16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
    The death of Herod is important in its relation to the birth of Christ. The eclipse mentioned by Josephus (Ant., XVII, vi, 4), who also gives the length of Herod's reign -- thirty-seven years from the time he was appointed by the Romans, 40 B. C.; or thirty-four from the death of Antigonus, 37 B. C. (Ant., XVII, viii, 1)-- fixes the death of Herod in the spring of 750 A. U. C., or 4 B. C. Christ was born before Herod's death (Matt., ii, 1), but how long before is uncertain: the possible dates lie between 746 and 750 A. U. C. (see a summary of opinions and reasons in Gigot, "Outlines of N. T. Hist.", 42, 43).
    If Jesus died in 33 and was born in 5 or 6 BCE, he was 37 or 38 years old at date of death. If his ministry started at age 30, and ended at date of death, his ministry was 7 or 8 years, not 3 1/2. If the inspection time started in 1914 and was the length of Jesuss' ministry, the inspection ended in 1921 or 1922.
    The Insight book tries to deal with this problem but falls short.

  • robhic
    However, a far grander Jerusalem continued to be favored by Jehovah. Galatians 4:26 calls it the “Jerusalem above.” It is Jehovah’s “woman,” his own heavenly wifelike organization.

    OK, this just creeps me out a bit! Jehovah's "woman" and "wifelike" regarding an organiazation sounds really weird.

    I keep getting an image of a small dog humping a stuffed animal --- like the toy is his "woman."


  • garybuss

    It's almost poetic. Invisible monsters loving secular businesses. I saw a medium size dog dry hump sister Stout's leg at a door once in service in unassigned territory. She delivered her sermon with more than the usual enthusiasm.

  • AllAlongTheWatchtower

    Robhic: I was raised in the WCG (Armstrong), and we were constantly preached to on the subject of how we, the church body collectively, were the "bride of christ". That always freaked me out, too. Funny in retrospect, but as a young preteen, I had some rather odd thoughts about how much it would suck if the "millenium" came before I even got to go on a date and have my first kiss, I would be married to a man (christ).

    Garybuss: Raised in the WCG brand of "the truth", I was taught that christmas was wrong because christ wasn't born in December, but "probably some time in the spring". After I was excommunicated from the WCG, I did some research on the subject and found that the spring birth is probable from a scientific point of view... but as with most things biblical, nothing can be nailed down. (Heh, nailed pun not intentional, but it is pretty funny now that I've noticed it.) So not only is the year in question, but the month as well. Here's an interesting link on the subject:


  • garybuss

    I used to listen to Herbert Armstrong on the radio in my little '49 Ford. My girlfriend lived with her aunt and the aunt loved Armstrong. The World Tomorrow was the name of the show. Local Witness people told me Armstrong got his material from the Watchtower magazine. I'm not sure how they knew.
    One of the first things that impressed me when I read the Bible cover to cover was the date of the birth of Jesus. The 3 1/2 year number is critical to the appointment doctrine but nowhere in the texts does it say Jesus's ministry was 3 1/2 years long.

  • inquirer

    Too many questions, not enough answers. I saw a site once (before I lost my damn bookmarks!!) that doubted the 3.5 year ministry, they reckon it was only 1-2 years. I can't remember if they said 1 or 2 (it was in a PDF file), because it's easy to get confused with the speculation out there! You all know how confusing it is!

    Some people (who deny Jesus' existence) also point out that it's quite interesting how we know so little of Jesus early life as a child. We really only know him when he was about 30.

    I think I am in the process of not liking BCE or CE anymore... sounds kinda politically correct. BC, AD sounds much nicer! And it puts Jesus in the equation! And since people don't know when he was born, I'll stick to the original BC, AD marking for now at least!

  • garybuss

    Another text that I found interesting was the verse where Jesus is found in the temple on December 25th celebrating the Festival of Lights. This is a verse I NEVER heard of when I was a Witness and I read the Bible with them in a topical, or proof text kind of a way.

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