Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Young ones – are you growing Spiritually?” (Luke 2-3)

Talk (w14 2/15 26-27) What Basis Did First-Century Jews Have for Being “in Expectation” of the Messiah?

This article unknowingly highlights an interesting principle. Jehovah, while giving a prophecy about the arrival of the Messiah did not see fit to allow the Jews of the first century including the disciples to clearly understand Daniel’s Messianic prophecy. As the article points out, if they had understood it, they would have quoted it in their preaching as proof that Jesus was the Messiah. After all they quoted many other prophecies (some a lot more obscure) from the Hebrew Scriptures. Even today there are a number of different understandings that I am aware of, and they all differ to the Organization’s understanding and teaching. They are caused by different understandings and interpretations of dating certain events in history. Now before continuing I would say from my extensive research on this occasion the Organisation seems to have got it right, but this is so rare it is probably more due to chance and unforeseen circumstance than anything else.[i] We find issues with the following:

  1. Dating Jesus year of birth.
    • The problem one finds is that not everyone agrees on the date of Jesus birth as October 2 BC.
    • We are currently in AD 2018 which is short for ‘anno domini’ or year of the Lord. This was calculated by a historian in AD 525 (Dionysius Exiguus) but not used widely until after AD 800. He set Jesus birth to be the beginning of Year 1 (AD 1).
    • Many historians now date Jesus birth to 4 BC.
    • Others have additional years. Note what Wikipedia says about this “Using these methods, most scholars assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC, and that Jesus’ preaching began around AD 27–29 and lasted one to three years. They calculate the death of Jesus as having taken place between AD 30 and 36.” This gives a variance of 7 years.
  2. Dating Jesus’ year of death.
    • This is obviously dependent on Jesus’ year of birth and hence varies as above.
    • As above many differ to our understanding of AD 33, a common one is actually AD 29 (not mentioned by Wikipedia).
    • Different understandings as to when in the 70th week of years Jesus died. Some take the beginning, some the half of the week (Organization understanding) and some the end of the week.
  3. Dating of Artaxerxes 20th
    • This is generally understood to be the starting year based on Nehemiah 2:1-18. However not all use this date as they try to reconcile the prevailing view of historians with the scriptures.
    • Wikipedia give this as 446 BC which is the prevailing view.
    • The Organization and some Bible Chronologists (with good evidence to justify the variance to the mainstream understanding[ii]) date it as 455 BC.
    • Other dates found include 445 BC, 444 BC, 443 BC.

With all the variations, even today, with history being continuously researched you can see that there is no meaningful consensus. It is no wonder then that many were in expectation that the Messiah would come but didn’t know exactly when he would come. Some merely wanted a Messiah for political reasons, but others had discerned from the scriptures the time period.

This brings us to our principle. Why did Jehovah and Jesus Christ not see fit to reveal in detail the proof for Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks of years? Simply put, the answer has to be that Jehovah and Jesus wanted people to put faith in Jesus as the Messiah. If it was provable historically beyond doubt it would move from a matter of faith based on good evidence, to an undisputable fact with no faith required.

Today it is similar with Jesus Presence or Return. It is a matter of faith based on good evidence. If it could be proven historically from the Bible and history to be 1914 or any other date then where would faith come into it? It also needs to be good evidence for our faith to be built on it. (Matthew 7:24-27) Furthermore the evidence for 1914 is not good indisputable evidence, both scripturally and empirically. However that does not mean that Jesus will not come in the future. The point is, should we try to manufacture certainty for ourselves or do we have faith that it will come in God’s due time? As John 6:29 says “In answer Jesus said to them: ’This is the work of God, that you exercise faith in him whom that One sent forth.’” He did not say, ‘This is the work of God, that you prove beyond all doubt by calculation from my word that he [Jesus] is the one whom that One sent forth.’

Parents, Give your children the best chance to succeed – Video – They took every opportunity.

This is an experience of the Shiller family, with the whole aim being to encourage parents with children to do more for the organization as Bro. Shiller did. By listening carefully you can spot several flaws in the message they try to convey.

Did Bro. Shiller go to Bethel with his wife and 6 kids? In the normal sense, No, but that is carefully disguised. He sold his house at a loss, and went to live in a house provided by the organization next to the Patterson property. He was not in Bethel proper, although he worked there. Also, why did the organization want him? Because he was a qualified Doctor, which means he had to go to University for 5-7 years to qualify. So he is very hypocritical when he says ‘other parents require their kids to go to college, so we required them to pioneer for a year.’  Thus, one error in other parents obliging their children to go to college justifies another in obliging his children to pioneer, regardless of whether they wanted to or not. His children ended up working in lumber yards, cleaning, roofing, etc, to support themselves. It seems none went to college to become a doctor like their father. And yet he believes that what the children have done was their decision of their own free will. As an outsider, it doesn’t seem as if they had much of a choice. It seems going to college was never an option for his offspring. He finishes up by saying ‘Don’t turn down opportunities’, however it doesn’t seem that any of his children were offered opportunities at Bethel. Perhaps that had something to do with the fact that none of them were doctors, lawyers, civil engineers, mechanical engineers and the like, all of which require university degrees.

Effectively, this brother is saying, ‘I was called to Bethel, with children, so you can be too.’   Yet, he must realize he was only called because he had a special skill that Bethel needed.   A role he got because he went to university, yet he denies his own children the same opportunity.

We do need the education from the Bible to know how to live, how to be Christian, but we also need secular education to make a living. Without it Patterson would have had no doctor who was a witness.

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[i] For those interested in a seriously scholarly investigation to ascertain the year and months of Jesus’ birth and hence death see this page.  You will need to register or use a Google or Facebook login, but it is an academic site for publishing academic papers.

[ii] Dating the reigns of Xerxes and Artaxerxes.

 

Tadua