2017, December 4 – December 10, Our Christian Life and Ministry

– posted by Tadua

Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Seek Jehovah before the day of his anger?”

Zephaniah 2:2,3 (w01 2/15 pg 18-19 para 5-7)

In paragraph 5 it make the claim that seeking Jehovah today involves being “in association with his earthly organization”.  There is no scriptural backing cited nor to be found in the Bible for this claim. All we are encouraged to do is to gather together with fellow-minded Christians to incite one another to love and fine works. (Heb 10:24, 25)

Haggai 2:9 – In what ways was the glory of Zerubbabel’s temple greater than that of Solomon’s Temple? (w07 12/1 p9 para 3)

A better question would be the actual question given in the reference: “In what ways could the glory of the later house become greater than that of the former?”

Zerubbabel’s temple was shorter than that of Solomon because of a decree by King Darius. However this temple was reconstructed by Herod the Great, starting in 19 BC and in doing so was greatly enlarged and made more beautiful.[i] Its beauty and size is remarked upon by Josephus[ii].

Alternative Highlight(s)

Zephaniah 1:7

Zephaniah wrote his book about 30 years before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in Zedekiah’s 11th year (587 BC). As the context to this verse shows, this was “the day of Jehovah” that was “near”. There was to be a day of reckoning with those continuing to worship Baal, those trading with deception, those worshiping Jehovah and Baal and so forth.
Zephaniah 1:12

The inhabitants of Jerusalem were going to be examined and those who were complacent about whether anything was going to happen (“Jehovah will not do good, and he will not do bad”) were due for a shock as they lost everything. Learning from this historical event: Just because there have been false prophets today, while we should not look for signs, neither should we fall asleep with the attitude "Jehovah will not do good, and he will not do bad".  Jesus said "Keep on the watch"!  Let us help one another to do just that. (Matthew 24:42)
Haggai 1:1,15 & Haggai 2:2,3

The second year of Darius the King was in 520 BC according to scholars. The temple had yet to be rebuilt. The question was asked in Haggai 2:2,3: “Who is there among you that is remaining over who saw this house in its former glory?”

If Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BC, then that was 87 years before the writing of this passage. Additionally, it is rare for anyone to remember anything before they were at least 5 years old. So we have to add a minimum of 5 years to the 87 years, a total of 92 years. How many plus-92-year-olds were there left at that time, and how many of them would remember the temple? While not impossible, it would have been highly unlikely to find one of this age with a clear memory. However, if the destruction of Jerusalem was in 587 BC as scholars suggest then that would lower the requirement to plus-72-year-olds; well within the realms of possibility, and sufficient for Haggai to expect a few answers to his question.

Kingdom Rules (chapter 22 para 8-16)

Paragraph 10  - Did they mean “Christ is patiently [slowly] using his faithful and discreet slave to teach all true Christians to be peaceable, loving and gentle”  or “Christ is patently [obviously] using his faithful and discreet slave...”.

If they meant "patently", then it definitely is not clear that Christ is using the faithful and discreet slave. On the other hand, Christ would have to be extremely 'patient' with the faithful and discreet slave as they barely mention him at all in the publications. (See recent Watchtower study reviews which have been highlighting the discrepancy in the mentions of Jesus Christ, compared with Jehovah.)

Paragraph 11 – Do you find yourself spiritually satisfied after congregation meetings? If not, then you are not alone. Many of those still within the Organization feel spiritually hungry. Many have left the Organization or are in the process of doing so for this very reason. If this is the case, then how can the Organization be Jehovah’s people? The only way to avoid spiritual starvation is to search, plant and water ourselves by studying God’s word for ourselves.

Paragraph 12 – The so-called “Ongoing flood” appears to be drying up, in light of the cutbacks and dumbing down of the magazines and books announced at the Annual General Meeting in October 2017.

Paragraph 13 – Given the multiple errors of interpretation and understanding of the scriptures constantly highlighted on this site, the claim made that by joining the Organization, people have “come to an accurate knowledge of the truth of God’s word, letting go of the religious lies that once made them blind and deaf to the truth” rings rather hollow.

Paragraph 14 – As a result, the Organization has lead all of us into a spiritual wilderness rather than a “spiritual paradise”. The high aims and study methodology practiced by C.T Russell and his associates has been discarded and replaced by the authoritarian dictates of an out-of-touch Governing Body, who sadly seem to do little real Bible Study themselves. If many visitors to this site have realised that what is taught by the Organization has deviated from Bible truth, then why cannot the Governing Body?


[i] Extract from Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: “Visible also are the Western Wall and the Second Temple, built by the returnees from Babylon under Zerubabel (sixth century BCE). Similar to the Temple of Solomon but less ornate, it was enlarged by King Herod and made into the magnificent edifice shown in the model. The important sections of the Temple included separate courts for men, women and priests, as well as the Holy of Holies. The Beautiful Gate led to the Women's Court, beyond which women were not permitted. The Gate of Nicanor (named after a rich Jew from Alexandria who donated the door), distinguished by its copper color, leads from the Women's Court to the innermost court; it is approached by fifteen curved steps upon which the Levites stood singing and playing music." 

[ii] The Wars of the Jews by Josephus. (Book 1, Chapter 21 para 1, p49 pdf copy)

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2017-12-05 09:50:17

    Some pointed questions at the end, Tadua. The answer to which seems to be that they will not budge from their existing position, as illustrated recently by Gary Breaux, who boldly stated that we will never change our two witness rule. Sadly no one seems willing to reason with those who ask questions and explain to them why they are wrong.
    Thanks for your point at Haggai 2:3 about those who saw the house in its former glory. Missed that one, but it will definitely go on my list.

  • Comment by Hypatia on 2017-12-05 14:22:44

    Actually Leonardo, if you are looking for another idea about dates and problems with 607, a Lunar year is actually 354 day (roughly 11 shorter than a solar year) and then you add intercalary months so the years average out to 365 days to keep in step with the solar year. I have no idea where the idea of a 360 day year comes from. Months in a lunar year alternate between 29 and 30 days since the synodic lunar cycle is 29.53 days...

    • Reply by Tadua on 2017-12-05 15:04:23

      The 360 days is a ‘prophetic year’. An investigation into the calendar used at the time of Noah certainly before and during the flood indicates a 12 month cycle of 30 day months. This perhaps means that the earths and or moons orbit changed as a result of the flood, and so the length of lunar month and year became different. The reason for 360 degrees in a circle and the earths circumference are also probably a vestige of the 360 day calendar, as time and position would be calculable by the position of the sun on any particular day.

      • Reply by Psalmbee on 2017-12-05 18:57:01

        All Bible prophecy and chronology is based on the 'prophetic year' 360 days 12x30, with adjustments added to compensate for the 'astronomical year'. (Ec. 3:17)

        • Reply by Tadua on 2017-12-06 08:40:22

          Except of course the organization omits any adjustment in prophecy interpretation and makes one prophetic year equal one astronomical year. e.g. 7 prophetic times at 360 = 2520 => Oct 607 BC to Oct 1914 AD. An adjustment to real astronomical years would be 7 * 365.25 = 2556.75 or Oct 607 BC to July 1951 AD. Oops!!! but that doesn't coincide, with World War 1 or 2 or anything important. What about adjust the days for a longer year i.e. 7 * (360/365.25) * 360 = 2483.778 => Oct 607 BC to July 1878 AD. No match to anything important? Oh well, try another one of a number of other types of calculations.(Like the days in a Lunar year!) Lost? Bewildered?
          Confused? No need to be.
          Preferably you remember that the prophecy in Daniel of the 7 times does not have a scriptural basis for an anti-type, and so you don't waste time trying to calculate various results and matching to world events in the first place !!!

          • Reply by Psalmbee on 2017-12-06 09:28:44

            Masterful research Tadua Thank you! That's what I call "Rocking" around the clock.

  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2017-12-06 04:14:32

    Hypatia, thanks for your thoughts, but I believe we have a much more important bit of dating coming up next week, and will appreciate any added information to Zechariah 1:12.
    Various publications date this as written in 519 BCE. If this is the case, then these 70 years, not of desolation but of Jehovah's indignation, began in 589 BCE, which ties in with the start of the siege on Jerusalem which ended in 587 BCE (Compare 2 kings 25:1-2).
    Unfortunately, right from early days, we insist the 70 years is of desolation, as per this quote ( from what I believe is the publication Mercy to the persecuted, but judgement to the persecutors, page 132 (I just cannot trace where I got this reference from - so I wonder if this is an extract from a book with a different title):
    -21 Furthermore, the land of Judah was to keep a “sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.” (2 Chronicles 36:21) How? By lying as a “desolate waste without man and domestic animal,” it having been “given into the hand of the Chaldeans.” (Jeremiah 32:43; 33:10-12) Both the prophet Zechariah and the angels knew that those seventy years of utter desolation of the land of Judah and Jerusalem without man and domestic animal had ended in the year 537 B.C.E. when the Jewish remnant returned from Babylon and reoccupied the land, they being reported back in their cities in the seventh month (Tishri) of that year. (Ezra 3:1, 2) Instead of its lying as a desolate waste any longer, crops began to be raised in the land, as the prophet Haggai reports seventeen years later. (Haggai 1:6-11; 2:16, 17) So those seventy years were long past!
    22 If, at the time of Zechariah’s first vision, those seventy years were still continuing or were just now over, why would the angel, knowing what he did, speak as he did? Since he knew that the time period was definitely seventy years long, why would he say: “O Jehovah of armies, how long?” (Zechariah 1:12) Why, away back in the first year of Darius the Mede after the overthrow of Babylon in 539 B.C.E., the prophet Daniel “discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.” (Daniel 9:1, 2) And certainly Daniel verified the number of years, not seventeen long years before they were due to end, but immediately before the end of the seventy years in the first year of the reign of King Cyrus the Persian. Thus the aged prophet Daniel, who lived at least into “the third year of Cyrus the king of Persia,” could know that he had calculated the length of the time period correctly. (Daniel 10:1) Hence those “seventy years” did not extend to the time when Zechariah got his first vision, in 519 B.C.E.

    • Reply by Tadua on 2017-12-06 08:17:04

      These brief summary may help as there are a number of 70 year periods, rather than just one.
      1. These nations will have to serve Babylon 70 Years (Jeremiah 25:11,12, 2 Chronicles 36:20-23, Daniel 5:26, Daniel 9:2)
      Time Period: October 609 - October 539 = 70 Years,
      Evidence: 609 Assyria becomes part of Babylon with the fall of Harran, which becomes the world power. 539 Destruction of Babylon ends control by King of Babylon and his sons.
      2. 70 years for Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10)
      Time Period: Working Back from 539BC gives 609BC.
      Evidence: ‘For’ is used as it fits the context set by Jeremiah 25 (see 2) and footnotes and text in Section 3 and is the translation in almost all bibles. Alternatively If ‘at’ is to be used we get uncertain starting points of 537 or 538 as a minimum (which to use is not clear, and there are other starting points that could be chosen. i.e. Which return from Babylon should be chosen? And first return exact date unknown) and hence 607 or 608 or other date as the end point.
      3. Mercy to Jerusalem and Judah, whom you have denounced these 70 years (Zechariah1:12)
      Time Period: 10th month 589BC - 11th month 520BC = 70 Years
      Evidence: Zechariah writes 11th month 2nd Year Darius the Great (520). Denunciation of Jerusalem and Judah from start of siege and destruction of cities by Nebuchadnezzar his 17th Year, and 10th month 9th Year of Zedekiah. (See Jeremiah 52:4)
      4. To fulfil its Sabbaths (2 Chronicles 36:20-23) (50 years a Sabbath Cycle)
      Time Period: 7th Month 587BC to 7th Month 537 = 50 years.
      Evidence: Jerusalem Desolated in 5th Month 587BC and land emptied by 7th Month 587BC after murder of Gedaliah and flight to Egypt by remaining inhabitants, Cyrus release came sometime in 538 – the Jubilee Year arriving back in their homeland by 7th month 537BC (see Ezra 3:1,2 ). It was fittingly a Sabbath year cycle of 50 years when their release and return came. This would give the land rest to make up for all the Sabbath years that had been violated.
      5. Fasting in 5th month and 7th month and this for 70 years (Zechariah 7:1,5)
      Time Period: 7th month 587BC – 9th month 518 = 70 Years
      Evidence: Temple destroyed 587, rebuilding restarted 520, the 2nd Year of Darius. Zechariah writes in the 4th Year of Darius the Great (518). Temple rebuilding completed by 516 Year 6th Year Darius.
      6. Tyre Forgotten for 70 years (Isaiah 23:11-18)
      Time Period: 10th month 589BC? - 11th month 520BC? = 70 Years
      Evidence: Jerusalem under siege from 589BC cutting off trade. Temple destroyed 587, rebuilding restarted 520, the 2nd Year of Darius.

      Finally not to be forgotten, we also need to remember that the greater amount of exiles were taken to Babylon with Jehoiachin, (rather than Zedekiah) 11 years before the destruction of Jerusalem making them 88 years old plus (10 yrs old +11(reign of Zedekiah to Fall of Jerusalem)+48(after Jerusalem Fall to before Babylon Fall)+19(Fall of Babylon to Darius 2nd Yr). See Jeremiah 52:28-30. This is therefore strong circumstantial evidence that the period from the destruction of Jerusalem till the return sanctioned by Cyrus was only 50 years, rather than 70 years.

      • Reply by Leonardo Josephus on 2017-12-09 07:43:21

        Excellent summary. I was particularly pleased to note your thoughts on the Sabbaths, a conclusion I have also drawn.
        I am sure you have noted Josephus (no relation!) references, as mentioned in my reply to S Wick above.
        This encourages me to believe that we have picked up most of what can be written in a short space.
        Well done ! And Keep searching.
        Many will rove about and the true knowledge will become abundant (Daniel 9:4)

    • Reply by Smoldering Wick on 2017-12-08 21:18:41

      Hi Leonardo,
      What I find interesting, the original Josephus actually corrects his own history of 70 years, changing it to 50 in his 'Against Appian II' (not sure of the page# but searchable since I underlined it)

      • Reply by Leonardo Josephus on 2017-12-09 07:36:26

        Hi Smoldering Wick. I do not think Josephus changed anything. He was referring to two different periods.
        In Against Apion 1:19 he says "our city was desolate during the interval of 70 years until the days of Cyrus of Persia". There is no change of mind, because he does not state the 70 years as a period of desolation. The desolate period is part of the 70 years servitude to Babylon. In Against Apion 1:21 Josephus simply states what is probably true, "Nebuchadnezzar laid our temple desolate and so it lay in obscurity for 50 years", which ties up perfectly well with 587 BCE to 537 BCE.
        Tadua's excellent summary, which is shown immediately below covers almost everything I have already picked up on the subject of dating the fall of Jerusalem.
        I hope the references to Josephus help.
        Happy truth finding.

        • Reply by Tadua on 2017-12-09 08:51:14

          Hi Leonardo
          We both agree on this. That’s what I discerned as well. Thanks for bringing it out.

  • Comment by wild olive on 2017-12-06 04:16:05

    The application of Hag2:9 is in my opinion a wrong one.
    The temple of Solomon had a visual miracle to show Jehovah's approval of the building 2Chron 7:1-3, this didn't happen with Zerubbabels temple , and also there was no shekinah light in the most holy, basically saying that Jehovah was done with it already.
    I think the "later house" is the one spoken of in Heb3:6 Eph2:19-22 and also 1Pet 2:4-6, this is definitely a "house with greater glory", just an opinion.

  • Comment by tyhik on 2017-12-06 04:20:12

    Thank you Tadua for your hard work.

    You wrote: "How many plus-92-year-olds were there left at that time, and how many of them would remember the temple?"

    Ezra sheds some light. Ezra 3:12:
    "Many of the priests, the Levites, and the heads of the paternal houses—the old men who had seen the former house+—wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, while many others shouted joyfully at the top of their voice."

    • Reply by Tadua on 2017-12-08 08:03:11

      Just to clarify this scripture actually refers to the original aborted attempt to build the Temple whereas Haggai 2:3 is in the 2nd year of Darius the great (520bc)

  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2017-12-06 05:18:37

    May I add to my own comment that Zechariah 7:1 & 5 refer to the 4th year of Darius and another period of 70 years. Vs 5 mentions about events over which the Jews had been fasting in the 5th and 7th months. The 5th month was when the Temple was burned down (2 Kings 25:8) and the 7th month was when Gedaliah was assassinated (2 Kings 25:25). 70 years back only takes us to 587 BCE (or thereabouts). No credit to me, as readers of Chronology on this site will know who highlighted this information.

  • Comment by the voice on 2017-12-08 20:05:59

    Or spiritual junk food that they claim everone else is serving when they themselves are the culprits
    . How true today are the words of Amos 8:11

    • Reply by Psalmbee on 2017-12-08 22:42:04

      Good one voice! Hearing the words of the LORD. John 18:37

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