Is 607bce the correct date for the fall of Jerusalem?
Is it important?
It is if you are one of Jehovah's witnesses. This date is now positioned as the primary basis for the many significant ‘prophecies’ and ‘claims’ which have been proclaimed by the Jehovah’s Witness movement worldwide.
Before I go any further, let me just briefly outline the background to my own current situation.
I am currently still known as one of Jehovah’s witnesses and have been for the last 27 years. The JW belief system is all I have ever known. Most of my family are still in the “truth”, as is also the case for my wife’s family.
Up until a year ago, whenever I read the date “607 BCE” in the various magazines and literature that the Watchtower publish, I had no reason to doubt that the Society had a sound basis for applying this dating protocol in support of their teachings.
If you too are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses reading this, you will no doubt agree with me that the norm is take for granted any of the information we are “fed” with as being absolutely rock solid.
Why?……………Because the information comes directly from the Governing Body. That’s why!
As a devout JW, I was always left completely satisfied with any of the Society’s assertions for dating. Indeed, I think most JW’s take it as gospel, anything that the Society comes out with.
For me, my confidence in the Governing Body was always unreserved as is no doubt the case for millions of other JW’s worldwide who also feel the same.
My feeling was that the Society would obviously have thoroughly checked out all the historical and archaeological evidence available and would only have used reliable dates, wouldn’t they.
At the beginning of this year, my brother in law challenged me to investigate something for him. Being an Oxford University Graduate, he explained that he had done some research on the 607 BCE date and had found it somewhat impossible to come up with anything remotely similar to the date which the Society adopts.
This is where the challenge came in; He wanted me to show to him both the Historical and Biblical evidence to substantiate the Society’s claim for the 607 date.
Naturally, having confidence in the Society as being “God’s channel of communication”, I accepted the challenge and started a 4 month research project to verify the Watchtower’s teachings.
I started my research by telephoning the British Museum and spoke to Mr Walker, the Assistant Curator of Babylonian Antiquities. He became pivotal in my researching of the Society’s teaching.
I exhaustively questioned Mr Walker about all the evidence that I had already come up with in support of the 587 BCE date and went on to ask him why historians favour this date over the Society’s 607 BCE date.
In response, he explained that there is numerous evidence to back up the 587 BCE date, and thus, directed me not only to all the artefacts available, but also to all the books I should study in order to make up my own mind.
By now, this challenge had become so import to me that I decided to go and visit the museum to see the artefacts to prove it for myself.
The more I researched this 607 BCE date, the more evidence I was finding that this “607 BCE” date just could not be right. In fact, I just couldn’t find anything on this date and was struggling to back up the Society in their dating.
During one of the telephone conversations with Mr Walker, he suggested that I should read a book by Carl Olof Jonnson called “The Gentile Times Reconsidered”.
So, I went out and bought this book and found that I just couldn’t put it down. I ended up reading it three times and went through it scrupulously to try and find some kind of “substantiation” for the Society’s teaching on the “607 BCE” date.
I just had to prove the “587 BCE” date wrong. Afterall, if I couldn’t, it would have meant that the Governing Body had got it wrong…………surely not!
Besides, everything comes directly from God through his “Channel of communication”……………
………………“Of course it does!” I thought.
So, I continued to go through all the evidence I had with a fine tooth comb in order to find something that would prove the Society’s teaching on 607 BCE.
But, this became impossible to do. I just couldn’t find anything. Nothing at all!
By now, I had become desperate to find some answers. So, in this desperation, I decided to write to the Governing Body in Brooklyn in the hope that they would be able to shed some “light” on “our” teaching of the 607 BCE date.
The letter eventually took me 20 hours to put together because I felt that it was absolutely imperative that I get my facts right. With all the information I had researched, I collated it in such a way that it would read like a report, and thus make the points easier for the Society to respond to.
I requested their help in answering the numerous questions I had posed to them in order for me to go back to my brother-in-law with the firm proof to support the “607 BCE” date teaching.
My letter included a summary of the information I had found in the “The Gentile Times Reconsidered” book, however, what I didn’t do was refer to it or make any mention that I had read it as this would have revealed I had been reading what the Society classifies as “apostate literature”.
As you will see when you read the letters I sent to the Society on the links below, the real source of the research is of course acknowledged and is published with the permission of the copyright owners.
After reading my letter, please go on to read the first “reply” that I received from the Society which did absolutely nothing to satisfy my questions about their dating methods.
You will see that as a result of the frustrating reply I got, I wrote another letter, only this time, rather than sending it to the Brooklyn Bethel and forwarding a copy to the British Branch, I actually addressed it to the British Branch instead.
In conclusion, I leave you to make up your own mind, but just remember this:
We should always be looking for
“the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God”.
NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS TO ACCEPT.
The Gentile Times Reconsidered – (3rd edition), written by Carl Olof Jonsson and published by Commentary Press, Atlanta, U.S.A.
Here's a link to "The Gentile Times Reconsidered" on Abebooks.com (it's not an affiliate link)