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Monday, September 19, 2011

1975 and Jehovah's Witnesses - The Opposers' Claims Vs. The Facts

The following will address in order:

1.) The basis for the original speculation of 1975.

2.) How even though there were articles printed that were speculative in nature, not one ever stated that Armageddon would definitely come in 1975 and, in fact, the then President of the Watchtower Society even instructed his listeners against saying anything as such.

3.) The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society's acknowledgement of "implied" statements concerning 1975 and the significance of this.

4.) The reason opposers focus on this issue.

5.) How Jehovah's Witnesses accusers employ two sets of rules.

Understanding the Speculation Concerning 1975

"The Witnesses had long shared the belief that the Thousand Year Reign of Christ would follow after 6,000 years of human history. But when would 6,000 years of human existence end? The book Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God, released at a series of district conventions held in 1966, pointed to 1975. Right at the convention, as the brothers examined the contents, the new book triggered much discussion about 1975." - Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom; pg. 104, Declaring the Good News Without Letup (1942-1975)

Speculative Articles, But NO Definite Statement

While there was likely a lot of speculation surrounding 1975 by individuals, no publication ever provided a definitive statement saying that the end would come in 1975. Some articles seemed to say that it was highly possible, though they always qualified it.

For example, the 5/01/67 Watchtower says:

"...1975 marks the end of 6,000 years of human experience.....Will it be the time when God executes the wicked?....It very well could be, but we will have to wait and see."

Other articles frequently used words such as "may", "could" and "possibly"," regarding this.

Even Frederick Franz (the then President of the WBTS) forcefully instructed:

"... don’t any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975."  - Rejoicing over “God’s Sons of Liberty” Spiritual Feast; Heading: the Year 1975; 10/15/66 Watchtower

Acknowledgement of "Implied" Statements

"In the years following 1966, many of Jehovah’s Witnesses acted in harmony with the spirit of that counsel (of Frederick Franz). However, other statements were published on this subject, and some were likely more definite than advisable. This was acknowledged in The Watchtower of March 15, 1980 (see quote below). But Jehovah’s Witnesses were also cautioned to concentrate mainly on doing Jehovah’s will and not to be swept up by dates and expectations of an early salvation." - Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, pg. 104, Declaring the Good News Without Letup (1942-1975)

"There were other statements published that implied that such realization of hopes by that year (1975) was more of a probability than a mere possibility. It is to be regretted that these latter statements apparently overshadowed the cautionary ones and contributed to a buildup of the expectation already initiated." - Watchtower, 1980 March 15, p.17, par. 5

Rather than to be met with scepticism or scorn, these acknowledgements of "implied" statements concerning 1975 is an obvious willingness to attempt to learn from them. And this is a relatively unimportant, non-essential issue when contrasted to the fundamentals Jesus laid out for the knowledge necessary for eternal life! (John 17:3)

In comparison, most other religions will not change doctrines(!) such as the Trinity, the immortal soul, and hell fire even though their own scholars admit that these beliefs are not taught in the Bible. Yet Jehovah's Witnesses have always been willing to change any belief in order to harmonize better with increased knowledge of Scriptural teaching.

The Reason Opposers Focus on 1975

The primary reason Jehovah's Witnesses opposers even bring up the topic of 1975 is to try and paint Jehovah's Witnesses as 'False Prophets'. By a definition of their choosing, Jehovah's Witnesses critics ignore what is meant by the word 'prophet' and what was intended by WBTS publications.

Though some may accuse the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of claiming otherwise, from the beginning, the Watchtower has never claimed to be "inspired and infallible and without mistakes":

"[the fact that some have Jehovah's spirit] does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's Witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine, The Watchtower, are inspired and infallible and without mistakes." - May 15, 1947, page 157.

Admittedly, earlier WBTS publications have occasionally published information that was speculative in nature and turned out to be mistaken. However, these publications also had provided accompanying statements cautioning it's readers that there was no certainty as to what would happen.

Two Sets of Rules?

Some critics focus solely on Jehovah's Witnesses concerning non-essential, mistaken expectations about the fulfillment of Bible prophecies. Yet at the same time, they ignore these high-profile religious figures who have made mistakes similar to Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Protestant leader Martin Luther believed that the Turkish war in his day would be

"the final wrath of God, in which the world will come to an end and Christ will come to destroy Gog and Magog and set free His own"? [John T. Baldwin, "Luther's Eschatological Appraisal of the Turkish Threat in Eine Heerpredigt -wider den Tuerken - Army Sermon Against the Turks]," Andrews University Seminary Studies 33.2 (Autumn 1995), 196.

He also said that

"Christ has given a sign by which one can know when the Judgment Day is near. When the Turk will have an end, we can certainly predict that the Judgment must be at the door". - Ibid, p. 201.

And Methodist founder John Wesley wrote:

"1836 The end of the non-chronos, and of the many kings; the fulfilling of the word, and of the mystery of God; the repentance of the survivors in the great city; the end of the 'little time,' and of the three times and a half; the destruction of the east; the imprisonment of Satan. - Wesley's Notes of the Bible

In 1950, Billy Graham, the well-known US evangelist, told a rally in Los Angeles:

“I sincerely believe that the Lord draweth nigh. We may have another year, maybe two years, to work for Jesus Christ, and, Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe it is all going to be over ... two years and it’s all going to be over.” - McLoughlin, William G., 1978 Revivals, Awakenings and Reform. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. pp.185. See also “US News and World Report” (December 19, 1994)

Would opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses condemn Luther, Wesley or Graham as false prophets? Or would they correctly conclude that they had simply interpreted Bible prophecy? Likewise, the WBTS is not a false prophet simply because interpreting Bible prophecy is not the same as prophesying.

Also see:

Did the Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses Ever Say That Armageddon Was Definitely Going to Come In 1975? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

The Problem with "False Prophecy" Polemics (Bible Translation and Study)

Dates (1914; 1975) (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

False Prophecy or Misguided Interpretation of Prophecy? (Jimspace)

Inaccurate False 'Prophet' Claim Made Against Jehovah's Witnesses - Links to Accurate Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Date of 607 B.C.E. For Jerusalem's Destruction

(More information about this topic can be found at the bottom of this article.)

The Destruction of Jerusalem - 607 B.C.E?

Some who wish to accuse the Watchtower organization of being a "false prophet" claim that the 607 B.C. date chosen by the Society for the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon is proof. Christendom endorses and teaches the date of 587 B.C. (which is the opinion of secular historians today).

Most secular historians tell us that some captives were taken from Jerusalem in 598 B.C., but that the city was not harmed at that time. They also tell us that a later siege in 587 B.C. destroyed Jerusalem and that all but a handful of the inhabitants of all of Judah were deported from the land at that time.

"All archeologically studied towns of Judah (see Jer. 25:11, 17, 18) were DESTROYED at this time (587 B.C.)." - Encyclopedia Americana, 1957, v. 3, p. 9.

They also tell us that

"the edict of Cyrus in 538 B.C., substantially confirmed by modern archeological discoveries, permitted the Jews to return to their homeland." - Americana.

Now if we insist on perfection in the statements of God's inspired prophets of the Bible concerning time factors, then either the inspired prophets who warned of the desolation of Jerusalem by Babylon must have proclaimed a 49 (or 50) year desolation of Jerusalem - from 587 B.C. to 538 B.C. (or 537 B.C. if we properly allow for preparation and travel time after Cyrus' edict)! OR the secular historians of today are wrong about the 587 B.C. date which most of Christendom (and apostate ex-Jehovah's Witnesses) accepts.

Now Jehovah's Witnesses accept the 538 B.C. date for the edict of Cyrus since the evidence produced "by modern archeological discoveries" is probably better established for it, and it certainly correlates more properly with Bible chronology. And since the date 587 B.C. for the beginning of the desolation period is probably more doubtful than that of the "substantially confirmed" 538 B.C. date for the edict which led to the end of the desolation period and does not fit proper Bible chronology, Jehovah's Witnesses have decided that the date of the desolation of Jerusalem must have been 607 B.C. Why? Because Jehovah's Witnesses believe the inspired prophets Jeremiah and Daniel are more likely to be correct than secular historians! (Be sure to read pp. 186-189 in Let Your Kingdom Come, 1981 Watchtower publication.)

Daniel wrote that he was "reading the scriptures and reflecting on the SEVENTY years which, according to the word of the Lord [Jehovah] to the prophet Jeremiah, were to pass while Jerusalem lay in ruins." - Dan. 9:2, NEB. Also see Jer. 25:8-11, 17, 18.

Now isn't it interesting that Christendom (especially those most vocal dissident ex-Jehovah's Witnesses) condemns Jehovah's Witnesses as being false prophets for interpreting certain ancient dates (most notably the destruction of Jerusalem as 607 B.C.) based upon the clear statements of inspired Bible prophets which seem to contradict the conclusions of secular historians today?

Think about it. What's really happening when certain "Christians" insist that a figurative "prophet" be perfect in its interpretation of time and then turn around and say,

"Yes, Daniel was an inspired prophet (and so was Jeremiah), but, although he literally said Jerusalem would lie desolate for 70 years, HE REALLY MEANT 50 YEARS. We believe the authorities today who tell us it was really 50 years," these `Christians' say, "more than we believe the literal accuracy of the inspired prophet, Daniel (or Jeremiah)."?

In other words, it's o.k. to condemn those who have never claimed to be inspired prophets for an apparent error in the interpretation of a date and proclaim them false prophets, and, in so doing, indirectly (but necessarily) accuse the truly inspired Bible writers, who, they believe, made the very same kind of time "errors," of being false prophets .

Yes, those who insist on the secular historians' dates (which make a 50 year desolation) are, by necessity, insisting that the Bible prophets stated the wrong chronology (70 years of desolation). By their insistence on the 587 B.C. date they are saying the inspired prophets did not prophesy a literally accurate time!

The real difference is that Jehovah's Witnesses admit to being human, making nonessential errors at times, and not being an inspired "prophet." They truly believe the organization, as a whole, and over the long term, has the guidance of Holy Spirit, but this does not mean that every step, every thought, every utterance of every member will be perfect in this present system of things. The first Christians, who were obviously guided by Holy Spirit, admitted as much about themselves. And yet these Jehovah's Witnesses, imperfect as they may be, are courageous enough to say that Daniel and Jeremiah are inspired prophets of God and are certainly more likely to be correct than secular historians.

If Jehovah's Witnesses are wrong on this nonessential "time interpretation," does that make them false prophets because they have chosen the literal accuracy of God's inspired prophets over the statements of uninspired historians? I think not! I believe, instead, a strong statement of their obedience to proper authority (the Bible in this case) is being made in spite of the ridicule and dishonest accusations of many false Christians.

On the other hand, what if the actual inspired prophets (Daniel and Jeremiah) are literally correct? Where does that put those "Christians" who are, in actuality, saying that Daniel and Jeremiah were false prophets? It seems we have a real test of faith and proper heart condition here.

Related Articles:

When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part One; Why It Matters; What the Evidence Shows (w11 10/1 pp. 26-31; Watchtower Online Library)

When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part Two; What the Clay Documents Really Show (w11 11/1 pp. 22-28; Watchtower Online Library)

Jerusalem 607 B.C.E. (Search Results From the Watchtower Online Library)

The Destruction of Jerusalem - 607 B.C.E.? (Search For Bible Truths)

'False Prophet' Claim and Jerusalem 607 B.C.E. (Search For Bible Truths)

Jerusalem - 607 B.C.E. (Jerusalem - 607 B.C.E.)

Was 607 B.C.E. Actually the Year Jerusalem Fell? (From God's Word)

Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. (Pastor Russsel)

Seven Times - The Times of The Gentiles (Pastor Russsel)

1914—A Significant Year in Bible Prophecy (Pastor Russsel)

Appointed Times of the Nations (Pastor Russsel)

Links to more sources concerning 607 B.C.E. (Y/A)

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Does a Substantial Health Danger Justify Having an Abortion?

"If at the time of childbirth a choice must be made between the life of the mother and that of the child, it is up to the individuals directly involved to make that choice. However, advances in medical procedures in many lands have made this situation very rare." - AWAKE! 6/09 p. 8 Why We Did Not Have an Abortion

While this is a problem involving very deep human feelings and concerns, the perfect counsel of God shows that a potential risk to mother or child does not justify inducing an abortion.

Human views on this question are varied and often conflicting. But fundamental to the Bible view is life and respect for it. Human life has both a divine origin and a divine purpose. (Gen. 1:27; Job 33:4; Ps. 100:3-5) Throughout the Bible we see reflected God’s deep respect for life. He lovingly urged humans to treasure their lives and to respect as sacred the lives of others. One who, without regard for divine law, took the life of another human, even a babe in the womb, was both guilty and accountable.—Gen. 9:5, 6; Ex. 21:14, 22-25.

It cannot be denied that sometimes a pregnant woman faces a considerable danger. A health problem, such as diabetes, hypertension or other cardio-vascular diseases, may lead sincerely concerned doctors to conclude that her life is in jeopardy. She may be told, ‘Either have an abortion, or you will die.’ Or abortion may be recommended when it seems that the child may be born blind or deformed, such as when the mother contracts rubella (measles) during the pregnancy. Some might reason in such cases that having an abortion is actually showing respect for life. Though in no way minimizing the seriousness of such problems or the sincerity of those recommending the abortion, one should have in mind the life of both the mother and the child.

There is no such thing today as a perfect pregnancy, for all humans are imperfect. (Rom. 5:12) Thus every pregnant woman faces a certain risk; the sad fact is that some women, even healthy women, die during pregnancy and childbirth. (Gen. 35:16-19) Is every pregnancy to be aborted just because a risk to the mother’s life or health exists? Obviously not. True, in some instances the danger is greater than normal because of the woman’s age or health. Still, do not most women, including many who face unusual risks, survive childbirth? And it must be admitted that however well meant it is, a medical diagnosis can be wrong. So how could one who accepts God’s view of the sacredness of life conclude that a potential danger would justify an abortion? Is the developing child’s life to be cut off simply because of what might occur?

Similarly, with every pregnancy there is the possibility that the child will be born with a defect or deformity. “About one in 14 babies is born with a genetic disorder; the afflicted range from the diabetic . . . to the hopeless cripple who may live only a few days.” (New York Times Magazine, Sept. 8, 1974, p. 100) Should this potential risk lead to the conclusion that all pregnancies should be ended by abortion? Not at all.

Here too in some instances the risk of the child’s having a defect may be above normal. This seems to be so, for example, when the woman is over forty years of age or in cases where she took certain potent medicines or contracted a potentially damaging disease in the early stages of pregnancy. About 10 to 15 percent of infants born to mothers infected with rubella during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy have some harmful effects of the disease that are recognizable in the first year of life. (Of course, this also means that 85 to 90 percent of such children are not thus affected.) But how can one having deep respect for life say that a mere potential risk of damage to a child justifies ending the developing child’s life?

Illustrating that such dangers must be viewed as still only possibilities is the case of a woman in South Africa. Before she was aware of her pregnancy she received an injection for a kidney ailment. Later her doctor said that, as a result, her child would be either an imbecile or horribly deformed; he urged her to have an abortion. When she learned from Jehovah’s witnesses what the Bible says about respect for life, she declined the abortion. She realized that, even if her child was damaged, Jehovah could undo the damage in the coming New Order. (Compare Isaiah 35:5, 6; Revelation 21:4.) What was the outcome? She gave birth to a healthy baby girl. But even if her daughter had been affected and needed extra care and treatment, would that change the rightness of deciding to let the girl live, with the prospect of eternal life?

Consequently, a woman who has been urged to have a therapeutic abortion because of a danger to her health or life, or to her child, needs to fix in mind the Bible’s view. A possible or potential danger, even a grave one, does not justify taking matters into one’s own hands and deliberately cutting off the life of the child in the womb. Deciding according to the Scriptural view will take real faith and courage, but it assuredly will be the proper decision, and one that Jehovah will approve of forever.

Tubal Pregnancy

Sometimes the treatment of a diseased condition, such as cancer of the cervix, causes the death of the developing embryo. But this may be an unavoidable side effect of the treatment; abortion is neither the treatment itself nor the objective. Similarly, in some cases a fertilized ovum implants and begins to grow in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. Such a tubal ectopic pregnancy cannot develop fully in this small tube; in time it will terminate with the rupture of the tube and the death of the embryo. If this condition is detected in advance, doctors usually treat it by removing the affected fallopian tube before it ruptures. A Christian woman with a tubal pregnancy can decide whether to accept this operation. Normally she undoubtedly would be willing to face any risks of pregnancy so that her child could live. But with a tubal pregnancy she faces a grave risk while there is no possibility that the embryo can continue to live and a child be born. -3/15/75 Watchtower; Questions From Readers

For more, see the category:

Abortion (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

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