While we were studying this in today’s meeting, something jumped out at me that I’d completely missed before. I couldn’t let it lie; hence, the addendum.
Feel free to correct me on this if you see a flaw in the reasoning because historical timelines are not my strong suit. It would appear—as I’m about to demonstrate—that they are not the strong suit of the publishers either.
Here we go:
- King Ahaz dies in 746 B.C.E. and Hezekiah assumes the throne (par. 6)
- In the 14th year of Hezekiah’s rulership—732 B.C.E.—Sennacherib invades. (par. 9)
- The seven shepherds and eight dukes of Micah 5:5,6 are representative of Hezekiah and his princes. (par. 10, 13)
- Micah wrote his prophecy before 717 B.C.E., 15 years after these events he prophesised about. (Table of the Books of the Bible, NWT p. 1662)
There is no such thing as a hindsight prophecy.
Let’s look at this in more detail. We don’t know when Micah wrote the prophecy, but the best we can establish is sometime before 717 B.C.E. Therefore we have no basis to say that he prophesied about Hezekiah since our best guess is that these words were written after the fact. To put it another way, we state, “He [Hezekiah] may have been aware of the words of the prophet Micah”[i], when in fact we can’t even state with certainty that there were any words to be aware of.
Then in paragraph 13 we switch from the conditional to the declarative and state with certainty that “He and his princes and mighty men, as well as the prophets Micah and Isaiah, proved to be effective shepherds, just as Jehovah foretold through his prophet….Micah 5:5,6”. Such a bald-faced assertion is nothing more than intellectual dishonesty.
Our premise that the elders will be the “primary, or most important, fulfillment”[ii] of these words is based on the belief that they initially applied to Hezekiah and the Assyrian invasion. Yet now, that is out the window.
Have a careful read of Micah 5:1-15.
Now consider that Hezekiah’s faith which inspired the people to demonstrate faith certainly opened the way for Jehovah to act, but it was Jehovah, through a single angel, who delivered the nation. There was no sword, literal or symbolic, being wielded by seven shepherds and eight dukes that resulted in the salvation of the nation. Yet, verse 6 says, “And they will actually shepherd the land of Assyria and the land of Nimrod in its entrances. And he will certainly bring about deliverance from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land and when he treads upon our territory.”
This is clearly a Messianic prophecy. There is no dispute about that. It could well be that to demonstrate what the Messiah would do on a larger scale, Micah was inspired to use as his prophetic backdrop, the Jehovah’s historic deliverance of Judah from the Assyrians. Whatever the case, the surrounding verses speak of events which were to take place long after Hezekiah’s day. There was also no mention of the land of Nimrod in Hezekiah’s day. It seems clear that the application of these verses is future. In that, we agree with the Governing Body. However, there is nothing in Micah chapter five to support the speculative assumption that the congregation elders are the seven shepherds and eight dukes. Nevertheless, for the fun of it, let’s say that the elders are the prophetic antitype to Hezekiah and his princes. Both are the seven shepherds and eight dukes. Okay, who in the prophecy pictures the Governing Body?
I agree. I also believe that it is a piece of the “puzzle” in discovering the whole/true nature of Jesus. It also gives us an idea that the Jews were expecting the Messiah to be more than just a King.
I’m not sure they were expecting that. The gospel writers themselves may not have made many of these prophetic connections until after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Good point 🙂
I shrugged this off during the Wt study but I can’t reason out of this…Paragraph 4 is nagging at me…. 4 Soon after Isaiah made that remarkable announcement, his wife became pregnant and bore him a son named Maher-shalal-hash-baz. One possibility is that this child was the “Immanuel” referred to by Isaiah.* In Bible times, an infant might be given one name at birth, perhaps to commemorate a special event, but be known by his parents and relatives by another name. (2 Sam. 12:24, 25) There is no evidence that Jesus was ever addressed by the name Immanuel. —Read Isaiah… Read more »
They did acknowledge that it applies to Jesus in the previous paragraph, but there always has seemed to be a reluctance to explore why that was so. By searching for an early fulfillment (which cannot be established) it serves to in part divert attention to what the fulfillment in Jesus might mean. When you research it you find that most of the information is in the negative i.e. what it does NOT mean in the case of Jesus. This study was no exception. All that was said is that Jesus was not literally called Immanuel as far as we know.… Read more »
Bingo! I believe that is exactly why Apollos. In the Insight book they start explaining away why it doesn’t support the Trinity doctrine . The GB may be right about that the meaning of the name “ Immanuel” cannot be used to necessarily to support the Trinity doctrine. Still…why put “There is no evidence that Jesus was ever addressed by the name Immanuel” in the paragraph ? It’s as if they put it there to support the idea that Jesus is not Immanuel. The sentence is weird. You can’t say in the same breath Immanuel is Jesus ..then say it’s… Read more »
Yes, and the Insight Book agrees with you that it is a title applied to Jesus. My view of Jesus being what it is means that the subsequent explanation as to why that title was applied to him in the flesh falls short of the more obvious implication, but ultimately I accept that it’s a single factor and no absolute proof of anything in itself.
Personally, I’ve studied Hebrew. And yes the Insight book falls short in its defense of its anti-trinity teaching which doesn’t address Hebrew culture. Hebrew names were all about meaning. So from a Jewish perspective the actual USE of a name (as though a label) was unnecessary as long as the person lived up to the name given. In the case of Immanuel, Jesus lived up to it even as he personally referenced it throughout the book of John, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
I too found the use of the Title “Duke” a bit strange, I see the new, 2013 NWT has changed this word, in line with the old footnote.
As to the time of writing of Micah, he mentions the destruction of Samaria in Chapter 1 as having happened, this took place in 721 BC, so his subsequent words are not prophecy in the predictive sense surely ?
Remembering that Micah wrote well over 100 years before Jehovah appointed Nebuchadnezzar as “my servant” in Jeremiah 27:6, if timelines serve me at all then the “life-saving direction” didn’t really arrive until Micah 4:9, 10 was fulfilled: “Is there no king in you, or has your own counselor perished, so that pangs like those of a woman giving birth have grabbed hold of you? Be in severe pains and burst forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman giving birth, for now you will go forth from a town, and you will have to reside in the field. And you… Read more »
A friend told me that if the GB told him to wear purple sock he would wear purple socks. That is a cult mentality. I shared this with another witness friend who’s an MS and he jokingly told me to ask that other brother when our next cult meeting was.At least some witnesses are not willing to worship men.
In Bible study, comments, the SM every one repeated that “be ready to obey line ” from last weeks WT to the point of it being kinda creepy.But even still I found myself searching for something to hold on to because the urgency among everyone was so great. I began to feel like my life could be possibly at stake. What if they are right?
That thought quickly vaporized when we sung the song about submitting to theocratic order as if Jehovah established such a thing.
Do you think the wording in the paragraphs may hint at some of the private views of either the governing body as a whole or perhaps ones in the writing department?: “Ahaz died in 746 B.C.E., and his son Hezekiah inherited the materially impoverished and spiritually bankrupt kingdom of Judah. As the young king ascended the throne, what would his priority be? To shore up Judah’s ailing economy? No.” (Two things that immediately came to my mind as I was reading this: 1. If they view this paragraph’s comments about the Kingdom of Judah as part of the ‘modern day… Read more »
If what the C.O.s are saying is accurate, I am not surprised. After years of rules and repetitive reminders, but no real depth of teaching and little focus on the Christ, the source of all things Christian, is it any wonder that the rank and file have little true spirituality. We do have an appearance of Godly devotion, but far too often we are proving false to its power.
The more greatly we are repressed, the less we are able to think for ourselves and the more we will demand rules to replace a conscience we were denied .
A well respected Elder( and the Coordinator) started crying on the stage during the Bible study saying that he feels so privileged, yet unworthy, that Jehovah by means of the slave has revealed that he will be one of the shepherds/dukes to lead God’s people through Armageddon. He went on to say that he has read that prophecy so many times and had no idea that in his lifetime Jehovah would unveil the identity of the dukes /shepherds. He then added that the brothers are letting us know that Jehovah is about to close the door(invoking the ark ). While… Read more »
It’s very sad. Jesus had been put on the back burner. Loyalty to the GB trumps all. I expect things to come to a terrible end very soon. Many brothers quietly are not buying this material. Eventually things will come to a head. Hopefully it’s not as bad as I imagine. I predict that I will soon lose family and friends.
When the truth becomes oppressive, denial comes to the rescue.
That is a simply astonishing account. I can see why you would feel as you do. These are disturbing events.
All I can say is WOW!!
This trend of idolatry is truly disturbing!!
And the heighten state of expectation that “Jehovah is about to close the door” is history repeating itself. Because that is exactly the kind of statements that were said in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Meleti, I presume you are working on the official JW timeline which is shifted from the historical timeline by around 20 years. It makes no difference to the outcome of course, as both the reigns of Hezekiah and the estimated date of writing will shift accordingly, so your point remains the same. When Jehovah inspired the prophets to write these books did he move them to do it as one would generally write a book today i.e. over a relatively short space of time, even though the time covered may be long? Or was the book slowly compiled throughout his… Read more »
Reading Micah 5 I couldn’t help but think it was a compilation of at least three different prophecies. The NLT has a footnote to verse 1 saying that it’s listed as the last verse of the previous chapter in the “Hebrew text”. Verses 2 – 4, and the first line of verse 5 are messianic. The rest of verse 5 and verse 6 talk about the Assyrian invasion and the seven shepherds and eight princes who would defend Judah and ‘rule Assyria with drawn swords’. Verses 7 – 9 tell how the remnant of Israel will wipe out their adversaries.… Read more »
Good question, my friend. I’d say it’s about as prudent as claiming to be the faithful and discreet slave before the Lord returns to make his own judgment.
I just re-read the FADS verses of Matthew and Luke, and I realized why the GB has him appointed in 1919. The slave is faithful and discreet when appointed, but it remained to be seen whether or not he would continue to be so until the master returned. If the appointment were in 33, we have the problem that a lot of very un-hypothetical beating of fellow slaves has gone on in the last 1900 years or so. But if we restrict the whole thing to a modern time period, we avoid that uncomfortable fact altogether and the way is… Read more »
I feel so jumbled listening to this “food” lately. Why do they twist words and bend scripture to fit their ideologies? I’m trying to hang on but there is very little to hang on to in this organization lately. The only thing they hold now are my family and friends.
The use of the word Duke is bizarre at Micah 5:5, since it had no meaning in either an ancient Hebrew context or a modern application. It is used by both Byington and NWT.
The 2013 NWT uses princes, while the King James and American Standard used principal men.
The subliminal message is clear: the seven lshephards of the Governing Body are raised up against the Assryian when he comes; but now the eight leaders of the Governing Body must be obeyed.
I agree that there was an unwritten message. I’m not so sure it was applying the 7S8D to the GB, since we were categorically told that they are the elders.
But who is Hezekiah in the modern day picture?
I’m also confused how the elders will shepherd the combined forces of Gog of Magog and provide deliverance using the Bible.
As for who Hezekiah is, that’s a good question. The GB will be getting inspired direction from God, so they are more like an antitypical Isaiah or Micah. This Isaiah/Micah class will impart God’s direction to the 7S8D or the Hezekiah class–the appointed elders, who will then sally forth, swords in hand, to defeat the invading Assyrian.
I think that about covers it, right?
“Micah wrote his prophecy before 717 B.C.E” I think that makes allowance for it being written before 732 BCE. 732 BCE is before 717 BCE. The table of bible books probably says before 717 BCE because all the historical information and artifacts available to secular experts only allows them to say with certainty that it was before 717 BCE, but they can’t pin down the exact date. We shouldn’t read “before 717 BCE” as meaning “in 717 BCE”. It could be decades before. What I found interesting is that the footnote for “dukes” gives “leaders” as an alternative rendering. That… Read more »
A valid point. Yet, it introduces doubt where there can be none. We’re talking a life-and-death application of Scripture here. 15 years is a significant time period. There is no evidence that Micah wrote the words of chapter 5 on or before 732 B.C.E. To say so is conjecture, yet it is the basis for this interpretation, which in turn is the basis for the modern-day extrapolation, which we are now turning into a life-and-death issue of obedience. The prophecy itself, with the exclusion of the mention of the Assyrian, does not fit with the events of Sennacherib’s invasion.
it would make sense to apply Revelation 2:27, 28 to the prophecy of the shepherds , which describes Christ giving his resurrected brothers authority over the nations to shepherd them with an iron rod and break them to pieces.
That would certainly fit.