2018, June 18 – June 24, Our Christian Life and Ministry

– posted by Tadua

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.


[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.


Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Robert-6512 on 2018-06-18 17:03:50

    You: "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."

    Extensive research? Like what, 10 minutes of surfing Wikipedia plus coffee breaks?

    So, WT being correct "is so rare it is probably more due to chance and unforeseen circumstance than anything else"? If that is REALLY the reason they are right, then they are not right at all. Being "right" under those circumstances would be a random error, since it implies they intended some "wrong" answer but accidentally reported it out as correct.

    If WT were genuinely that wrong about everything, you ought to say so right here and now, and quit beating around the bush. That is clearly far more important than quibbling about dates that no one cares about in the first place.

    Personally, I think the chance that YOU get things right is due more to chance and unforeseen circumstance than anything else. After all, if YOU can slander people with no valid proof and no convincing arguments (well, no proof or arguments at all), why can't I? Fair is fair.

    Tadua, here's a challenge for you: For your next article, you should try - in spite of great personal temptation to the contrary - to NOT slander WT or anyone else, or make any more ridiculous, illogical, unsubstantiated assertions. Instead, for a refreshing change, produce something that at least LOOKS like you did more than a half-hearted attempt to knock out yet another piece of junk research with nothing substantial to back it up. Real research takes more than 10 minutes of Wikipedia plagiarism and cobbling together your latest clever insult of the week.

    Then, when you're finished, ask your self one important question: Has your work provided even the slightest benefit to the readers of this forum, who actually have serious problems to cope with, including their future lives, their standing and relationship with WT and other JWs, etc. Articles that diddle about minutia of dates just don't qualify, as they help no one.

    And, if you can't do that and can't publish an article worth reading, PLEASE don't publish it.

    I know that's asking a lot.

    • Reply by Justin Michesloff on 2018-06-19 09:14:17

      Robert6512, I think the intent of your comment is good, but perhaps a bit harsh. Please remember that the whole purpose for a review site is to look critically at what is being discussed and either refute or support through facts.

      I agree with you in the sense that Tadua should not be supporting his assertions with bravado, I.e. referencing all of the research he has done without producing the research. This is a tactic we are all to familiar with as we see it in the JW organization all the time.

      Tadua, this reminds me of Galatians 2:11-13 where Paul rightfully corrected Peter. The end result was a uniting of the group. Similarly, we should not accept statements without support, otherwise we could be guilty of slander.

      Robert6512, although your motives appear pure, firing back with anger, cynicism and insults will not promote unity so why do that.

      I continue to appreciate this forum which has helped a 45 year JW ex-elder who struggled mightily with the separation process. I am now 3 years into my new life and have more faith than ever. Please brothers, let us not devolve into what we once were. Please let us all remember Colossians 4:6 with our responses and remarks.

      Christian love.

    • Reply by Psalmbee on 2018-06-19 09:21:18

      2 Peter 2:19, Apostate deterioration?

    • Reply by Alithia on 2018-06-20 09:56:38

      Hi Robert6512, I am hearing you brother, and if it is a word picture of frustration and disappointment that you are painting, then I must say you have produced a masterpiece!
      I am not mocking you or wishing to scold you. I am genuinely moved by how you must feel at this time.
      Could I ask you though to pause for a moment to consider the ancient prophet Elijah. He also felt like you do, and as many of us do from time to time due to our particular circumstances.

      Elijah told God that he felt like he wanted to die because he felt like he was the only one doing what should be done as a worshiper of Jehovah. He felt everyone else was not "up to speed" or doing what he thought they should be doing.
      He may be forgiven for feeling this way, after all he had put to death the prophets of Baal and performed amazing miracles in the land, yet it seemed he was now on the back -foot, he was depressed, in need of encouragement and everything he had done seemed to have been in vain. I suppose running for your life, having wicked Queen jezebel sworn to kill you might cause that in anyone.

      Yet Jehovah after a while encouraged him and gave him further new and strange assignments, such as anointing an Syrian King??? and getting the whole Jehu thing happening.

      So Rob I think you need to be a little patient for what your particular needs may be, or what direction you think things should be going, Jehovah is aware of how you feel as he did with Elijah, and who knows, your best work as a Christian,is ahead of you as it was with Elijah. As the Proverb says, better is the end than the beginning. This is just the beginning, and you know what, if this is the "end", and only will ever be the "end", meaning this site or any other site, then I might have a crack and loose it too!! But I am convinced this is the very small ,tiny beginnings of something that will grow to maturity and something where everyone, including yourself can feel that it has been worthwhile participating by contributing or just seeing how others deal with the whole matter.

      In the meantime I have found praying for the holy spirit to receive comfort and strength is very upbuilding, remember Jesus said John 14:16 he would send the spirit to help and to be a comforter. 1st Century Christians after getting dragged out of their houses, delivered up to the jailers, thrown out of the synagogue etc were really beaten down yet as Paul was able to say that God was able to sustain them, read about this at Hebrews chapters 10-12. I find my troubles pale in comparison to what the early Christians had to endure. Not to diminish your or anyone's personal troubles, I have to admit there are days that I feel really sad too about lost opportunities etc, someone was very helpful by reminding me that coming out of a cult like group and waking up is traumatic and feels like grieving the loss of a loved one. This what I am feeling too, and I too am thirsting for encouragement like you are.

      So Rob do not let what you consider a poor scriptural editorial upset you, there are bigger issues to consider, and if you let yourself be upset then you will not be in a mind set to help others close or around you in a positive way either, don't know what else to say Rob except that there is no need to get frustrated or desparate, I know as Paul said at Romans 8:39 Nothing can separate us from the love of God. So hang in there Bro with the rest of us!!!

    • Reply by Mike West on 2018-06-24 00:43:57

      Robert- although I fully support a lively scriptural discussion that may involve opposing views, I think it’s important to remember the rule of Christian love and not allow our responses to sink to the level of angry insults and personal attacks that are so prevalent today. To point out that Tadua may have been too broadly critical of the WT in this week’s review is a fair critique. But your method of critique was mean-spirited and insulting. The BP writers volunteer vast amounts of time and energy to point out the serious flaws in many of the WT teachings that our Brothers and Sisters are exposed to. Perhaps instead of being so insulting, you could voice your opinion using the Scriptures in a spirit of mildness in imitation of Jesus (Matt. 11:28-30). In my opinion, this website generally does feature valid proof and convincing arguments in their commentaries. Unlike the WT writers, they do open themselves up to questions and a lively debate.
      With that said, I would like to point out the error in part of your rebuttal. You stated that “That is clearly far more important than quibbling about dates that no one cares about in the first place.” I cannot tell from your response whether you are an active JW or not, but any JW- active or inactive- will tell you that chronology is an intrinsic part of WT theology. Indeed, the entire 1914 theology that Jesus was appointed as King invisibly is what the WT leadership, the Governing Body, base their authority as the (self) appointed ‘faithful and discreet slave’ on. If Jesus did not return invisibly in 1914, then they could not have been appointed in that time frame. I agree that “quibbling about dates” is speculation and therefore cannot be clearly proven in the Bible. But it is not quibbling when the WT repeatedly preaches the chronological doctrine- now seriously reaching with the ‘overlapping generation’ theory. I believe that is what Tadua was trying to point out in this review.
      Indeed, many readers of this forum do have ‘serious problems to cope with’. Learning WHY some of the WT teachings are false- from the Scriptures- is one major step that many JW’s take to retain their spirituality. For that reason, I am very appreciative of this website despite some of their imperfections.

  • Comment by lazarus on 2018-06-19 19:42:20

    Thanks Tadua,

    Was just having a discussion with a Brother regards Simeon and Anna. It’s interesting the Holy Spirit came upon them. To reveal the arrival of the messiah.

    Luke 2: 25And look! there was a man in Jerusalem named Simʹe·on, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for Israel’s consolation, and holy spirit was upon him." So he was Waiting, Holy Spirit came upon him- revealed truth.

    Luke 2: 38In that very hour she came near and began giving thanks to God and speaking about the child to all who were waiting for Jerusalem’s deliverance.”

    All who were Waiting, so their must of been many keen bible students waiting. I just noticed in verse 38” once the Holy Spirit revealed to Anna the appearance of the messiah- " she began speaking about the child” “ this new truth"
    I wonder how many would of accepted this message as coming from God? Or would they have waited on the Chief Priests to make such announcement?

    Today we are waiting in expectation- but more importantly it wasn't to the Leaders of Israel that the Holy Spirit identifies the Messiah. Not even to good hearted Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea but to humble individuals and those keen observers of the messiahs appeance.

    • Reply by Tadua on 2018-06-20 05:33:36

      Hi Lazarus
      That is a very interesting, thought provoking, well presented comment. There are so many good points we can learn from these events and meditate on. Thank you.

  • Comment by Search-truth on 2018-06-25 19:33:26

    Hi Tadua, great write up as usual, keep up the good work..Don't worry about the negative commenters, they are either having a bad day or
    they are still holding a personal attachment to the J.W. doctrine and organization.
    In addition he must be in his early stages of waking up not able to cope and taking offence to the in depth, critique you put forth.
    Again, Tadua, keep up the fantastic work..

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