Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

My conversation with the Jehovah’s Witnesses

We live in a small town in a quiet little road with few cars and even less pedestrians moving around on our street. Whether this is the reason, I don’t know, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to target our area for their visits. When I was still at school, our pastor told us that you never allow a Jehovah’s Witness to enter your home, you never give them money and you try and get as much literature from them that you can, which you burn as soon as they had left. Among my friends there are only a few that would get into a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness. We, on the other hand, have made a decision many years ago that we will invite them into our home and allow them to speak to us and that we will try and keep the conversation as civil as possible. What’s the use of saying that we are Christians, only to be known as someone who sets their dogs on the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
On Tuesday I had a visit from two Jehovah’s Witnesses again. Having trained a great number of people in personal evangelism, it was interesting to me to see these two men doing virtually every mistake in the book in their approach. I opened the door and greeted them (they were standing outside the security gate) and even before I could open the gate, the one man, who was obviously the leader, started speaking. I invited them in and he went on speaking. One thing I try not to reveal when speaking to them, is that I’m a pastor, because then they will definitely not be willing to speak to me if they knew that. I felt a bit trapped when the man mentioned that he was surprised that I was at home. Before I had time to think of a reason why I could be at home without telling a lie and without saying that I’m a pastor, he went on with the conversation, hardly ever allowing me to interrupt him.
His approach, as many before him, was to prove to me that we are living in the end times – something which they seem to be amazed at when I agree. The only difference is that I have good reason to believe that we had been living in the end times since the birth of Christ and not only since 1914, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe.
They base their argument on the following: The last king of Judah was dethroned in 607 BC (according to them). This happened at the start of the Babylonian exile. What I’m still wondering about is how they came to choose that date as the start of the exile, as all history sources show that it happened in 586 BC and not 607 BC. Dan 4:10-16 speaks of seven times. Revelation speaks of “a time, times and half a time” (12:14) which is equal to 1260 days (12:6). Seven times should therefore by 2 times 1260 which equals 2520. According to Num 14:34 the Israelites were punished one year for every day that they used to explore the promised land. So now the 2520 days becomes 2520 years!
607 + 1914 = 2520 – that is, if you believe, as they do, that the exile started in 607 BC and that there never was a year 0. And therefore, with the start of the First World War, the end times began. Thus saith the Jehovah’s Witnesses!
What does the Bible actually say about the end times: It tells us that Jesus had come in the end times (Heb 1:2; 1 Pet 1:20), that the Holy Spirit was given in the end times (Acts 2:16-17), that the apostles lived in the end times (1 Cor 10:11) and that Timothy also lived in the end times (2 Tim 3:1-5).
If I had to believe this guy, then we don’t have to worry that Jesus would come unexpectedly. According to him, the United Nations still have to collapse before Jesus can come again. Surprisingly, I had asked him a few minutes earlier whether he believed that Jesus could actually come today, to which he agreed. But then he later contradicted himself by saying that Jesus actually could not come before the United Nations had not collapsed.
Perhaps we should be thankful that their arguments are so totally illogical and that they do not have the faintest idea of how to approach someone whom they want to convince. No wonder people are chasing them away from their homes. But next time, when they come knocking at my door, I’ll invite them in once again. Perhaps the day will come when I will have the chance to share with them the gospel of God’s grace.

Thursday, July 9, 2009 - Posted by | Church, Eschatology, Evangelism, Grace, Mission, Theology

39 Comments »

  1. Hey! In my case it is the “Church of Latter Day Saints”. Last time they visited was about 2 years ago, and I regret not being able to handle the situation better. As this society continues to fall deeper into darkness, I pray that we believers can be the light that reaches out to those in the dark with unconditional love. Great article, and have a great summer!

    Comment by joshuawu | Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. The funniest thing happened to me many years ago. We had an appointment at a certain pastor’s house where we gathered once a month for Bible Study and prayer. We were five pastors together, when someone knocked at the door. He came in and had a name tag. His first name was “Elder” which was a very funny name, but I greeted him: “Hi Elder.” Then someone else entered. He also had a name tag and his first name was ALSO “Elder.” And then I realized that they were Mormons and that their “names” were actually their titles. But they didn’t know that there were five pastors in the house! We had a ball!

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. . That must have been very interesting, having pastors and Mormons together in the same room. Having the title Elder would probably mean they were really strong in their faith, so what happened during the meeting? Did they ever find out that you guys were all pastors? That must have been a pretty awkward moment for everyone. :]

    Praise God for the many fun moments He places in our lives!

    By the way, do you notice how wordpress does not allow us to indent our paragraphs? I find that pretty weird.

    Comment by joshuawu | Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. I don’t think we ever told them that we were all pastors, We just left them wondering how these people whom they had come to see knew so much about the Bible! And when they left we burst out with laughter.
    Wordpress can indent entire paragraphs, but not, as far as I know, only the first line. And then there also has to be an empty line before and after the paragraph, otherwise everything is indented. Perhaps, one day, they’ll improve the software.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Reply

  5. . Hopefully they update their software one day, but until that day comes I’ll just have to make due with these things ….

    Comment by joshuawu | Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Reply

  6. […] We live in a small town in a quiet little road with few cars and even less pedestrians moving around on our street. Whether this is the reason, I don’t know, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to target our area for their visits. When I was still at school, our pastor told us that you never allow a Jehovah’s Witness to enter your home, you never give them money and you try and get as much literature from them that you can, which you burn as soon as they had left. Among my friends there are only a few that would get into a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness. We, on the other hand, have made a decision many years ago that we will invite them into our home and allow them to speak to us and that we will try and keep the conversation as civil as possible. What’s the use of saying that we are Christians, only to be known as someone who sets their dogs on the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Read more … […]

    Pingback by My conversation with the Jehovah’s Witnesses « Mission Issues | JW News & Comments | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

  7. Well, I think you just entertained fools unawares !

    Number one, scripture CLEARLY says not to invite people into your home, who deny that Jesus came in the flesh (which Jehovahs Witnesses do; they do not believe in the divinity of Jesus ). Nor say to them “God’s speed”, or otherwise entertain them. As Proverbs says, if you argue with fools you either make yourself like them (arguing over scripture to no end), or you make them seem right in their own eyes; sounds like you did both.

    Number two, you disobeyed your earthly father (parent), as well as the God inspired scriptures.

    Number three, you lied; not telling the truth is lying. You convinced yourself before you let them in the gate that if you did not tell them you were a pastor was not a lie; it was; it was your heart deceiving even you.

    Jesus said that He never did anything in secret, therefore, neither should we. We should not be asamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that He was with God in the beginning, that He was God and that He is God the Son, AND that He came to dwell with us in the the flesh.

    Next time, if there is one, tell them up front that you believe in the incarnation of Jesus Christ the Son of the living and true God; I guarantee, from experience, they will almost RUN away from your house, and the word will get out and none of their ilk will come again.

    You CANNOT witness to a Jehovah’s witness because they ARE brainswashed. Now the second person that was with “the mouth” was a “trainee”. If you had spoken the Word of God to them, as above, that individual may have had good soil in which the Word would have taken root, and perhaps they would have come out from among the cult of JW. So, if there is a next time, speak God’s Word and His Truth into the ears of the trainee.

    Comment by Glenda | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

  8. Just reread the Jehovah’s Witness letter. It was your pastor that you disobeyed…somone you evidently thought was more a fool that the JW’s.

    Comment by Glenda | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

  9. Well Glenda, seeing that I’m the pastor now, I can hardly be disobedient to myself, can I? I take it that you would also have been one of those people in the church of Jerusalem who had blamed Peter for sharing the gospel with heathens (Acts 10). And who would have blamed Peter for allowing the heathen from the house of Cornelius to enter his home. And who would have blamed Peter for entering the house of Cornelius, which was against the law. And who would have called Paul a liar for acknowledging that the unknown god which the people in Athens were worshiping was in fact his God (Acts 17).

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

  10. Glenda, please quote scriptures to back up your statements, you are just stating your beliefs based on you feelings.

    About your statements:

    1. For your statement, “[the] scripture CLEARLY says not to invite people into your home”

    Here is a passage with Jesus inviting someone:

    “After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him,and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
    Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
    Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Luke Ch 5 V 27-32 (NIV)”

    – In this passage Jesus invited Levi, someone who wasn’t a believer, to His home. Now you may say, “Jesus didn’t specifically invite Levi to His house.” Jesus welcomed Levi to join Him in His home in heaven, which Levi accepted. Jesus did not have a home on earth. We are also called to love our neighbors, which also includes people of other beliefs. Why did Jesus eat with non-believers and ‘sinners’? Jesus came to die on the cross for ‘sinners’ so that if they come to believe in Him they shall have everlasting life. Every person on this earth, including me and you, are the sinners the passage is referring to.

    2. You were talking about this passage in Proverbs, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly,or you will be like him yourself.” -Proverbs Ch 26, V 4

    – Are you stating that all Jehovah’s Witnesses are ‘fools’? Are they ‘fools’ for going around to knock on everyone’s door, with the intent of sharing their faith so that you will not go to hell? They are doing what they think is right, which is very commendable. Those are not the people we should try and SCARE away, but instead show kindness and love toward them, in the hopes that they may come to know the real truth and be saved.

    Comment by joshuawu | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

  11. It is also written,
    “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool

    than for him.” -Proverbs Ch 26, V 12

    For anyone who believes he is more “wise” than others, better than others, such as in this case of believing that non-believers such as Jehovah’s Witnesses are ‘fools’ and cannot be saved, there is more hope for the ‘fools’ than for that man or woman.

    Comment by joshuawu | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

  12. How would you know when the Elders came over to this pastor’s prayer meeting that they were arguing over scripture?
    The group of pastors most likely welcomed the Jehovah’s Witnesses into their home with kindness. The Elders would have then proceeded to begin talking about their faith and how you can be saved. From here on if I was one of the pastors I would most likely begin to question the things the Elders are stating, and ask them why and how we would be saved. With enough discussions, they may finally come to the point that God does not allow sinners into heaven, then how are we saved? How are we saved if Jesus did not die on the cross for all of us? Hopefully the Witnesses would eventually come to understand the reason Jesus came down to earth, and that He is real. There would be no arguing, just some normal questions anyone would ask when they hear something they think might be wrong.

    Your second point makes no sense. Arnau disobeyed his earthly father? If you are referring to his pastor with this statement, then something is already wrong in your belief. Pastors are not your earthly fathers, they are NORMAL people who dedicate their time to speak to your church’s congregation. The only people we should be calling father is the one that gave birth to us into this world, and God.

    “What’s the use of saying that we are Christians, only to be known as someone who sets their dogs on the Jehovah’s Witnesses?”. – Arnau van Wyngaard

    . Where in the scripture does it say to never allow a Jehovah’s Witness into your home? Arnau gives his reason for why he disobeyed his pastor, as this part of his teaching was wrong.

    “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” – 2 Peter Ch 2 V 1

    There will be false prophets, false teachers among us, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses; but the most dangerous false teachers are the ones that are not obviously false. One example would be the longtime pastor at your church, if he started to insert false teachings here and there, would you be able to tell which ones are false? The only way to know is if you have had a firm foundation in studying the Bible and also asking God to give you wisdom to tell what is right from wrong.

    Comment by joshuawu | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Reply

  13. I could spend the rest of my day answering the rest of your points, but I have more important things to do, such as writing a saxophone piece for worship this sunday. If you still feel the need to argue your point, go and read the Bible more throughly, then come back and see if you would like to uphold your statements.

    . It is great you have great passion for what you believe is right, but instead of using it to argue with a pastor (who has 24 years of missionary work under his belt), you should instead use the zeal to spread the Gospel to the people around you, in the hopes that one day they will come to know Jesus.

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

    Comment by joshuawu | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Reply

  14. It is great that* you have great passion, typo.

    Comment by joshuawu | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Reply

  15. . By the way, I just recently started reading through the Bible and devotions. Just finished reading James, and going on to 1 Peter. Most, if not all, the points I made were by asking fellow believers that know the Bible more thoroughly, and then asking them (or him) to check and see if there is any errors with my arguments.
    . God bless you!

    Comment by joshuawu | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Reply

  16. Ah, in my post it is not the Elders speaking, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Sorry for the mix up. Was still remembering your joke :]

    Comment by joshuawu | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Reply

  17. […] I went online to type it up, but while looking through the email, I came up across this comment https://missionissues.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/my-conversation-with-the-jehovah%E2%80%99s-witnesses/ .  I do not know why, but I felt compelled to answer back to this Glenda. I began to think of many […]

    Pingback by 7/10/09 « My diary! | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Reply

  18. Why is it ONLY Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons who go house to house as Jesus and his disciples did in the first century? (Acts 20:20) In all my 50-some years here on earth I have NEVER had ANY pastor from ANY other church come to my door and witness to me in obedience of Jesus’ command at Matthew 28:19,20, like ones from these two groups do. Why is that? Why don’t you?

    Comment by Colin | Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Reply

  19. Colin, fortunately it is not ONLY Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who share their faith on a personal base. But I do agree with you that most Christians are lacking in this regard. You are obviously new to my blog, but I encourage you to do a search on my blog for Evangelism Explosion and then you will see how involved I am personally, not only to share my faith on a one-to-one basis but also to train others to do the same. Possibly you should have rephrased your question in a less aggressive way by asking: “Do you?” and the answer is “Yes!” More than I can even try and remember (and contrary to the Jehovah’s Witnesses I do not keep record of every spiritual conversation I’ve ever had with people in their homes, on street, on public transport, in my car, etc.) And my question to you is then: “Do you?”

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Reply

  20. “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.- Act 20:20. This passage was from Paul, where he was called by God to spread the Gospel through missionary work.

    . Some Christians go from door to door telling others about Jesus. If that is what you are felt called to do, then go do it! Everyone is called by God to spread the Gospel in their own unique way, there is no set way to tell others about Jesus. My friend’s sister felt a calling to become a horse vetenarian, to reach out to people in this way. Others feel compelled like Paul to become missionaries and travel to other continents that may have little to no believers at all. These people are following Jesus’ command in your reference to the Bible, Matthew 28:19,20. Now if I was to become a doctor and share my faith to my patients, would I have the time to go from door to door? Probably not.

    Comment by joshuawu | Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Reply

  21. Just came across something during my devotion,

    “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter Ch 4 V 10-11

    God gave each one of us different gifts and talents to show God’s love, and evangelize, with.

    Comment by joshuawu | Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Reply

  22. Yes, I do.

    At least twice each week, for several hours at a time, I knock on doors and greet people on the streets.

    Although the majority of those I talk to are presently not interested in discussing Bible subjects, there are many who do have sincere Bible questions, and to these I make arrangements to return at their convenience, answer further questions, conduct a Bible study using their own Bible, or simply share scriptural encouragement.

    This definitely strengthens my own faith, and also helps provides an answer to Satan’s challenge. (Proverbs 27:11)

    Comment by Colin | Monday, July 13, 2009 | Reply

  23. Colin, I am sure that there are hundreds of Christians who do the same thing that you are doing and all of them are being encouraged by it

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Reply

  24. I wondered if anyone knows the “shpeel” the JW’s give at the door to try to start a conversation, and how you as a Christian tried to stear the conversation towards teh gospel. But mainliny how they start their conversation with you. Thanks

    Comment by Renee | Sunday, July 19, 2009 | Reply

  25. My husband and I have been visited recently. Rather I should say a few nice ladies would come while my husband was gone. I invited them for a Bible Study (after all they asked me about having a peaceful earth and I said I was so excited for when Christ would return)and that morning my husband became sick and ended up staying home. As they sat facing me with two books (the NWT and the “what does the bible really teach”) I acknowledged what they said sounded nice, I waited for them to say something completely un biblical. When they got into the illogical excuses of why they believe what they believe I turned the conversation to my husband. He offered they come back for a meeting, that took two weeks. She would not return without her husband. At that meeting we intended to share the gospel message of Christ. We knew we would be black listed. See my husband is a Pastor, so is my father. In prep we have a JW bible (NWT) to which my father had spent months meeting with a few JW’s using their own NWT to prove the Deity of Christ. (Thank the Lord for his foot notes!) During our meetings time and time again we intended to bluntly state we were in ministry, brag about our accomplishments and run them away. Yet something within both my husbands heart and mine keep us silent. They need Christ. They can not see how faulty their ‘doctrine’ is unless you can show it, in a loving way. You can scare them off, be rude, mean or blunt. All that does is confirm with in them the hatred of Christians and the world. We pray before every meeting, we use the Word to disprove theirs. We ask questions that cause them to think. Over and over they’ve left so they could prepare for the next meeting. While we pray and keep in touch with Pastor friends and Elders for support and help in direction.

    A missionary family that we know works in Japan. Years ago they battled the JW’s in some of the scariest ways you’d realize. Girls were kidnapped, families separated, people disappeared. Ones who were able to leave the WatchTower would beg churches for hiding places to keep them physically safe until they could leave the country! Their own followers are scared of them. So why would we scare off the ones trying to spread their belief when we have a short window of time to share with them the Gospel. They will have something (a seed) in their hearts to think about while they learn about what they have joined. Ever notice that the Elders in the JW only come in the last meetings? Or that the ones that come are not confirmed on their own bible but need to go ask help? It is because the ones going door to door are trying to reach a higher level in the society and are still uncertain, unknowable of their own belief.
    They will find out who we are, when God’s Spirit allows us. They will black list us and not return. (after all the leaders of our ‘cult’ are the worst right?) However until that time we have the opportunity to share the GRACE of God, the Gospel of Christ and the Blessings of the Spirit into their minds and hearts. What happens when they leave is in God’s hands, yet I will not squander what he has set before us.
    No where in the Bible does it say that no one needs Christ. Every where in the Bible does it tell us to GO and tell the good news. How much nicer is it when they come to us? God has a great since of humor (the 5 pastor’s note above) and my husband and I enjoyed that greatly. I think we need to remember to be as sly as serpents and innocent as doves. Be willing to bring them in with loving arms and concern while we KNOW what we believe WHY we believe it. Christ came in love, shared in love, over and over to his own disciples who didn’t get it! Who are we to put ourselves in God’s place and demand that we are a special chosen few and others are not welcome? We then make ourselves like them, a select few group. That wasn’t Christ, isn’t Christ. Please keep us in prayer as we meet the couple tonight. The husband owns a vary large company in our small town. What blessings could fall if we could be able to share Christ?

    Comment by Reba | Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Reply

  26. That is great Reba! I pray that your meeting with the couple tonight went great, that God has already planted the seed of faith in them and that it would continue to grow. We need to show love just as God has shown us.

    Comment by joshuawu | Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | Reply

  27. Renee, I know in my case the two people started by telling me whether I had heard about the problem of global warming (which I obviously had) and then asked me whether I knew that this was predicted in the Bible, (which I did not know – LOL) and then asked if they could tell me more about this.

    Reba, thank you so much for sharing that story. That confirms absolutely how my wife and I also feel about this.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Thursday, July 23, 2009 | Reply

  28. I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I can assure you there is no reason that you need to hide the fact that you are a pastor. We preach to anyone willing to listen.

    If you have any specific questions for us, I’d be happy to answer them for you.

    Comment by TJ | Sunday, August 2, 2009 | Reply

  29. Tj, thank you for your comment. I may well come backto you at some point about a few questions I have. But to return to my remark: A few weeks earlier there were some Jehovah’s Witnesses at my door and when I invited them in, they declined, remarking that they have heard that I’m a pastor and they did not want to speak to me. They only wanted to leave a pamphlet for me to read.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Sunday, August 2, 2009 | Reply

  30. Hi Arnau, I obviously wasn’t present when those Witnesses were at your door. But I certainly find it strange that they would bother knocking on your door only to tell you that they didn’t want to talk to you. I suspect there may have been more to it, as I personally, as well as many Jehovah’s Witnesses I know, have had long good-faith discussions with pastors and priests.

    Just to give you a little perspective on why we accept the 607 BCE date for the Babylonian exile over the current secularly-accepted 586 BCE date, is because we accept the Bible’s clear testimony that the exile lasted a full seventy years. The date of Babylon’s fall to Cyrus in 539 BCE is well-attested in secular sources, and helps us establish the end of the exile at 537 BCE. Thus a seventy-year long exile would have had to of began in 607 BCE for the Bible to hold up.

    “…in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.” (Daniel 9:2)

    Comment by TJ | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Reply

  31. I also find it strange that the people did not want to enter, but it happened exactly as I told you.

    I find absolutely no proof for 607 BC to be thedate when the exile started. So maybe the Jehovah’s Witnesses are misinterpreting something here. And if they are, then it means that the entire argument of 1914 being the beginning of the end times also becomes null and void. I find it strange that anybody would want to change the date of such an important historical happening, arguably the most important thing that happened in the history of Israel, except possibly for the exodus. Every single source of well-documented history shows that the exile started in 586/7. I would therefore like to know what proof can be given that this date is indeed wrong.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Reply

  32. Hi Arnau, I find it odd that you seem to overlook the *biblical* evidence I gave you above showing that the exile was 70 years in length. Is the Bible not “well-documented history”? So when the secular chronology allows only some 50 years for the exile, while the Bible clearly states that it was 70 years, obviously one is wrong. Which is it?

    And this is not the only line of evidence we use to conclude that we are now living in the last days of this system. It is the signs Jesus pointed to, at Matthew 24 and elsewhere, happening all at once on a global scale, that confirms for us that we are now in the last days.

    Comment by TJ | Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Reply

  33. TJ, you accept the secular date on which the exile have ended (537/8 BC), accept the 70 year prediction in Jeremiah 25:9-12 and therefore conclude that the exile started in 607 BC, in spite of secular history showing us that the main part of the Israelites were taken away in 586 BC. This is your hypothesis, which cannot be proven other than by saying that Jeremiah predicted that the exile would last 70 years.
    My question is why we should accept the one date proven by secular history but not the other. If the seventy years is the constant factor, why couldn’t it be that the starting date of the exile is indeed correct and the end date is wrong? Or why do we not reject both of these dates, so that the exile started and ended on other dates than proven by secular history? Then it is merely your argument against mine and whoever shouts the loudest, have won.
    What about another hypothesis? Let us accept for argument’s sake that the exile did start in 586 BC, when Jerusalem was destroyed. Adding 70 years to this date, brings us to 516 BC, the year when the temple was rebuilt. There are some who ask whether this could not perhaps be the 70 years that Jeremiah referred to? I’m not saying that this hypothesis is correct, but if I have to choose between two theories, one which rejects all historical proof and the other which complies with historical proof, then I would go for the second option.
    Of course, if the hypothesis of the exile starting in 607 BC is incorrect, then the entire argument is destroyed about the significance of 1914 being the date when the end times started.But then we will also be more in line with what the Bible itself says that the end times started, not in 1914, but when Jesus was born, as the Bible itself declares:
    1. That Jesus had come in the end times: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Heb 1:1 & 2); “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” (1 Pet 1:19 & 20),
    2. That the Holy Spirit was given in the end times: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16-17),
    3. That the apostles lived in the end times: “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Cor 10:11)
    4. That Timothy also lived in the end times: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim 3:1-5).

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Reply

  34. Hi Arnau. You asked me, “My question is why we should accept the one date proven by secular history but not the other. If the seventy years is the constant factor, why couldn’t it be that the starting date of the exile is indeed correct and the end date is wrong?”

    The answer to that question is that the secular evidence is *not* of equal weight. The evidence establishing 539 BCE as the fall of Babylon is far better attested than the evidence establishing 587/6 as the exile of the Jews, and even that evidence has problems. You may find the following article regarding this interesting: http://onlytruegod.org/jwstrs/539vs587.htm

    You said, “Let us accept for argument’s sake that the exile did start in 586 BC, when Jerusalem was destroyed. Adding 70 years to this date, brings us to 516 BC, the year when the temple was rebuilt.”

    I have had this presented to me before, but the Bible doesn’t speak of the seventy years in connection with the temple, but with respects to the actual exile.

    “This is what the LORD says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place [Jerusalem].'” (Jeremiah 29:10)

    What happens at the end of the seventy years according to that verse? Is it the temple being rebuilt, or is it that God will bring his people back from Babylon?

    “He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword . . . The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.” (2 Chronicles 36:20-21)

    The land itself ‘rested’ for a full seventy years. This means that no one lived there, in fulfillment of what God promised at Leviticus 26:27, 33-35:

    “If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me . . . I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.”

    During the seventy-year long sabbath rest for the land, the Israelites themselves were “in the country of [their] enemies.”

    If you’d like to discuss the last days and when they started, I’d be happy to explain our position. But first I hope you’ll at least recognize the strength of our position for rejecting, in part, the secular chronology that does not fit the biblical evidence.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion.

    Comment by TJ | Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Reply

  35. Well the article you quoted to confirm the end date of the exile is indeed impressive. I, like I assume you as well, am not an historian. I specialised in missiology and eschatology. However, I found equally impressive articles referring to the starting dates of the exile, none of which put it in the year 607 BC, but also based on Biblical proof. One of these is http://www.kingscalendar.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi?action=viewnews&id=491 and I also found two very interesting articles that show why the date of the start of the exile could not be linked to 607 BC: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/7831/babylon1.html and http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/7831/babylon2.html

    I have to thank you for the way in which you address this issue. Although I disagree with you, I can still respect you for it. May I just mention, as a warning, that WordPress, under which I put up this blog, automatically deletes any comment by anyone, other than myself as the owner, as spam if more than one hyperlink is found in a comment.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Reply

  36. Hello Arnau. I appreciate the links. Really though, I think each objection raised therein can be met with a satisfactory answer.

    Would you agree that, according to the Biblical record, the Jews were exiled from their land for a full 70 years? If so, doesn’t this invalidate the currently-accepted secular chronology? If you don’t accept that premise, how do you interpret the scriptures provided in my previous post?

    Comment by TJ | Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Reply

  37. TJ, I think you are touching on the real issue, which is our interpretation of Scripture. Instead of answering your question her, I’m going to do this in a new blog-post as it is going to be fairly long and it may be of interest to others reading this blog as well. And I get the feeling that you are also realising that it is not going to help us to try and determine which argument is going to be the strongest. Just to give you a short answer: We both know that there are certain things in the Bible which cannot be interpreted absolutely literally. You, for example, do not accept the literal existence of hell (even though the Bible speaks in a very real sense about this) and neither do you accept that Jesus is truly God. Truth be told, you yourself give a symbolic meaning to the seven times, as an indication when the end times will start (which is not said directly anywhere in Scripture but is a deduction which you have made) but then it is not seven years (as in Revelation where a times and times and half a time indicates 3 and a half years) but rather seven periods which you then multiply with 360 to give you 2520 days but which you then interpret as 2520 years. But enough said: I’ll react on my blog.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Reply

  38. […] quite a discussion going on some issues. If you want to follow the thread, you can find it here: My conversation with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I decided to start a new blogpost, on the one hand because the response would become too long and […]

    Pingback by Interpreting the Bible for today « Mission Issues | Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Reply

  39. Hi Arnau. I’ll follow your new post, but first I would like to just say here that you have gone through quite a few issues in your response. If you’d like to go through each of those issues, one by one, I’m more than happy to do that for you. I think you’ll find our arguments for our beliefs are much stronger than how you have presented them here. Many thanks.

    Comment by TJ | Saturday, August 8, 2009 | Reply


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