Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Witnessing to Witnesses Part 4

1914 – The Cracked Foundation

So we've talked about this invisible coming of Christ in 1914. How does the Watchtower come up with this invisible return in 1914?

Well they start with Jesus. In Luke 21:24, Jesus said: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations." Jerusalem was the capital of the the Jewish nation and this was where David and his sons ruled as kings. Jerusalem and the Jewish kingdom were God's kingdom in the Old Testament. So God's kingdom at some point in time began to be trampled on. The Society says that this happened in 607 B.C. when Jerusalem was conquered and destroyed by the Babylonians. So Jerusalem is God's kingdom. Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C. and the line of kings was broken. The Gentiles would rule for a fixed period of time until God's kingdom was restored. The kingdom could only be restored when the heir to the throne, Jesus, became king. So when Jesus becomes king, the "times of the gentiles" were over.

So how long until Jesus would become king? They say that Daniel chapter 4 holds the key to knowing how long that period would last. In this account, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about a giant tree. This tree is cut down, and rings are put around the stump so that it won't grow for seven times. After the seven times, the rings are taken off and the tree grows again. So the Watchtower claims that trees are sometimes used to represent kingdoms. So the tree was cut down and this supposedly represents that God's kingdom which was represented in the kings in Jerusalem, would be interrupted for seven times.

Well how long is seven times? Well, there are two methods used. First is that seven times, are seven years. A biblical year was 360 days. So seven years is 2520 days. They can also get this number by going to Revelation 12:6, 14 where it says that 3.5 times is 1260 days. Then jump over to Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, which speak of “a day for a year,” the “seven times” would cover 2,520 years. Thus 2520 years after 607 B.C. brings you to 1914 A.D., the time when the Watchtower says that Jesus "invisible presence" began because he was now given kingdom power.

Firstly, the Greek word “parousia” is where we get the word “coming” from. The Society translates this as “presence”. It doesn't really matter what kind of word games they try to play, the way this word is used in other scriptures shows that a physical bodily presence is meant. In fact this word often refers to a visit of a king or other official. Take a look.

“I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you.” (1 Corinthians 16:17 NIV)

“But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.” ( 2 Corinthians 10:10 NIV)

“Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” (Philippians 1:25-26 NIV)

If the Greek word for presence in Matthew 24:3. (parousia) is used of physical visible coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus, Titus, and Paul, were they invisible?

Secondly, there is a problem here right from the begining. The following are citations verifying that the correct date for the fall of Jerusalem was not 607 B.C, but 586 B.C. I have used both secular and Christian sources.

Biblical Archaeological Review stated,

"You will recall that the Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar, after twice laying siege to Jerusalem, finally captured it in 586 B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar's army then pillaged the city, destroying the Temple and sending the inhabitants off to exile in Babylonia.

Unger's Bible Dictionary, "

...Nebuchadnezzar promptly invaded his unhappy country and besieged Jerusalem for a year and a half. In 586 Jerusalem fell and numbers of its inhabitants were carried away captive to Babylonia..."

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,

"586, Jerusalem destroyed and burned (Jer. 52:13b.); people taken captive (52:28-30).

According to Encyclopedia.com, the Babylonian captivity, is defined as

"the period from the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) to the reconstruction in Palestine of a new Jewish state (after 538 B.C.)."

Worldbook Encyclopedia online says,

"Some of the most important prophets and poets lived during the Babylonian Exile, the period of captivity that followed Babylon’s conquest of Judah in 587 or 586 B.C"


If both Christian and Secular scholars agree that Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 and not 607 B.C., how could Jesus return in 1914?

Thirdly, everything hinges on their interpretation of Daniel Chapter 4. The passage in it's context has nothing to do with God's kingdom. The interpretation is given in this chapter. Nebuchadnezzar is the tree. This dream concerns Nebuchadnezzar's own need to acknowledge that the God of Israel is the one who rules the affairs of mankind. Nebuchadnezzar spent seven years acting like an animal because he didn't acknowledge God , and through humiliation he learns his lesson.

Where in the context does it say that this is referring to God's Kingdom?
What New Testament author tells you to interpret this passage as relating to God's Kingdom?

Fourthly, when did Jesus get his authority? Notice what Jesus himself says at the great commission.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18 NIV)

If all authority on heaven and on earth was given to Christ at his ascension, how could he be given more authority in 1914? Is there more authority then all authority?

Why does this matter? Do you see the implications of this? Do you see that this is the foundation for everything the Watchtower claims about itself?

If Jesus didn't return in 1914, then he didn't inspect his temple and choose the Watchtower in 1919. And if he didn't choose the Watchtower in 1919, they have no claim to authority at all and have sold their members lies and deceit. Even if Jesus returned in 1914, the Society fails it's own criteria for being the “Faithful slave”. This is vital to understand. The Witness at your door is convinced that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the mouthpiece of God. Nothing you say will ever reach their ears unless the authority of this false prophet is undermined.

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