This website has shown that 607BCE — not 587BCE — is indeed the year that Jerusalem was desolated according to irrefutable evidence in God's word the Bible. Even some of those who have previously tried to discredit Jehovah's Witnesses by saying 607BCE is incorrect, are now forced to admit that it may indeed be the right after all, because they have no clear answer for the Biblical evidence presented.
In light of this, not wanting to admit that Jehovah's Witnesses indeed have the truth, they now have resorted to this view: 'So what. It doesn't matter if it was 607 or 587! This proves nothing about 1914. It is still an artfully contrived story with no basis in the Bible. There is no evidence that 607 began the Gentile Times and that 1914 was the end of those Gentile Times.'
So the question begs to be answered from a Biblical standpoint: did the 7 times begin in 607 and end in 1914? Did the 7 times begin when the ruler on Jehovah's throne in Jerusalem, Zedekiah, was cut down in 607 and end in 1914 with the rightful ruler, Jesus, the twig of Jesse, becoming the King in God's Kingdom in heaven? How Long Are the Seven Times?
Briefly, Revelation 12:6 tells us: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and sixty days.” Later in verse 13 of the same chapter we read, “the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place; there is where she is fed for a time and times and half a time away from the face of the serpent.”
We can clearly see that 3.5 times = 1260 days. By doubling both figures we can easily conclude that 7 times = 2520 days. Then, by applying a-day-for-a-year, we deduct that 7 times = 2520 years. Amazing as it may seem, it is 2520 years from 607BCE to 1914CE. Are the seven times of Daniel chapter 4 to be applied in connection with the Gentile Times and God's rulership?
Many claim that the tree dream only applied to Neb, that he would have his sickness for 7 years and then be restored after that 7 years, and it has no further application. However, it is most interesting that the word Daniel chose to use concerning the tree was not the same word used for the word 'year'. He used the word iddan which means epoch, age, seasons, or times . iddan is not the word that would be used merely to describe one year if one year is what is meant. There is a different word used to describe the word 'year'. For example, the word for year in Hebrew is shana. By using the word iddan it becomes evident that Daniel wanted to convey the thought that something was meant beyond a simple seven years otherwise why not just use the word for years?
What can we conclude concerning Daniel's use of the word iddan? That Daniel must have used that word for 'times' for some purpose, or was directed by Jehovah to do so. We have to wonder why? Why use the word 'times' instead of years? There must be a reason. If the tree dream is only to be applied to Nebuchadnezzar then why didn't the prophecy simply say 7 years. Why 7 times?
Consider the fact that Revelation later shows us that 7 times can equal 2,520. So, apparently it was meant for 7 times to be deciphered as 2,520 in order to show us that it has greater significance other than just the 7 years upon Neb. Otherwise, why the clues? Was it Jehovah's intention to mislead Bible readers?
There can be no doubt that the mention of times in Revelation was only written to help us figure out the the length of seven times in Daniel. Otherwise, John could have just been directed to write 1,260 days — there was no need whatsoever for him to repeat himself and also write 'time times and half of times', because it does not help us in the interpretation of Revelation at all. In other words, the 7 times in Daniel do not help us to figure out what the 3½ times are in Revelation. It is the other way around.
Consider this: If 7 times mean only 7 years, then Daniel could have simply said 7 years. Then Revelation could have simply said 3½ years or 1,260 days or 42 months. And nobody would ever even need to mention 'times' and everyone would be happy and understand it all. Furthermore, Daniel's mention of 3½ times in connection with 1,260 days could also have been removed, as the same number — 1,260 days — is also mentioned in Revelation. The whole business of “times” is superfluous — unless it used as a key in understanding the 7 times.
However, because 7 times means more than simply 7 years with Neb, but 2,520 years in the great scheme of things, then Daniel had to use a different term other than years. He had to use a word that could convey both the 7 years upon Neb and the hundreds of years spanning the Gentile times. That term he was directed by Jehovah to use was iddan or times. Since this needed to be understood, then John was directed to use the same terminology, 'times', to show the length of seven times and thus the book of Daniel could be understood by seekers of truth.
In view of the foregoing, is it reasonable to think that Daniel 4 is only about Nebuchadnezzar? Why does Daniel specifically use the word 'times' rather than years? And why does Revelation then help us to see the length of 7 times? And why does Daniel tell of 7 times passing over until the lowliest one of mankind is set up. Dan 4:17, “to the intent that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.” This cannot be mere coincidence, can it?
Some claim that 7 times just meant 7 decades, therefore concluding that it coincides with the 70 years of Babylonian domination. However, the question would need to be answered: In what way was a lowly one put on high in 537? No king of Judah was restored at that time.
However, we do have a parallel with Neb. He was brought low only to be put on high after 7 times. God's rulership in the form of the Davidic Kings (the last one being Zedekiah) was brought low in 607. It would not be until someone sat on that throne again that the lowly one would be put on high. That lowly one of course is Jesus Christ. When would that lowly one be put on high? That is what the prophecy is answering. First it answers that question in regards to Nebuchadnezzar. Secondly, and most importantly, it answers that question as regards to God's rulership.
Others argue that a year is 365 days not 360 days. Therefore they conclude that 7 times should be 7 X 365. But the Bible interprets itself. The book of Revelation clearly shows that 3 and a half times equals 1,260 days. Therefore 7 times equals 2,520. We can't argue with that. We can't say, 'oh no, there are 365 days in a year.' That doesn't matter. The Bible shows what 7 times equals. We can't change it. 7 times = 2,520 days. If it is a day for a year then 7 times is equal to 2,520 years. You only have 2 choices. Either seven times = seven years. Or seven times = 2,520 years. (based on a day for a year) It can't be 7 X 365 or 70 years or 7 months or 7 days unless we are going to totally disregard the Bible's explanation of times in Revelation.
Just why was a dream given to Nebuchadnezzar in which a large tree is cut down, banded, and after seven times has passed over, the bands are be removed and the tree once again is able to grow? The Bible explains the reason in simple terms at Dan 4:17, “to the intent that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.” I'm certain that no one will deny this.
As has been said before, the Bible interprets itself and so we do not have to guess about this matter at all. Incredibly, similar words are used concerning the kingship of Zedekiah. Ezekiel 21:25-27 reads concerning Zedekiah: “As for you, O deadly wounded, wicked chieftain of Israel, whose day has come in the time of the error of the end, this is what the Lord Jehovah has said, Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no ones until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.”
Most Bible scholars will readily agree that this prophecy does indeed apply to the last king of Judah, Zedekiah. Ezekiel 20:1 gives the time period that the prophecy was given, “Now it came about in the seventh year...” The seventh year being the 7th year of Ezekiel's exile. Ezekiel's 7th year of exile was during the rule of King Zedekiah. In fact a quick reading of the entire 21st chapter of of the book of Ezekiel will confirm that the prophecy is against Jerusalem and “against the soil of Israel,” and verses 18 through 21 confirm that it is the “king of Babylon” who would come against Judah and Jerusalem. Ezekiel 21:25-27 must therefore apply to Zedekiah and only Zedekiah since he was the ruling king of Judah at the time when the prophecy was given, he was the last king of Judah, and he was in fact shortly thereafter conquered by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar.
Yet, there is even more evidence in Ezekiel 21 for connecting the kings of Judah — including the last king Zedekiah — with the tree in Neb's dream. In chapter of Ezekiel 21, did you notice that Jehovah has a sword that he will unsheath upon Judah because of their rebelliousness? It is concerning that sword that the question is asked in verse 10:
Verse 10: “Is it [the executional sword] rejecting the scepter [rulership] of my own son [Israel], as it does every tree?”
Verse 12: “'Cry out and howl, O son of man, for it itself has come to be against my people; it [Jehovah's sword] is against all the chieftains of Israel.”
Amazing! This exactly parallels Neb's tree dream, where Jehovah's sword will even cut down the “tree” or “scepter” or rulership of Israel. The cutting down of the tree or rulership of Israel is of great significance because those kings of Israel represented Jehovah's rulership in the earth.
1 Chronicles 29:23 tells us, “And Solomon began to sit upon Jehovah’s throne as king in place of David his father” From this we can see that the kings of Israel did indeed represent Jehovah's rulership on earth.
It is in this regard that Lamentations 4:20 written after the desolation of Jerusalem and the end of Zedekiah tells us, “The very breath of our nostrils, the anointed one [king of Israel] of Jehovah, has been captured in their large pit, The one of whom we have said: “In his shade we shall live among the nations.”” By using the word shade in connection with the king of Israel we are once again reminded of the large tree in Daniel 4 that would provide protective shade covering for all. This is the same protective tree-like shade that God's rulership provided as represented by the kings of Israel.
So ask yourself this: Out of all the trees or scepters or rulerships that Jehovah would use Babylon to cut down, which tree would be unbanded and restored in the future, receiving kingship from Jehovah himself as he saw fit? Which one would provide the 'lowliest' twig that would shoot forth and become a majestic cedar in Jehovah's Holy Mountain put on high like no other?
Ezekiel 19 provides us with even more amazing similarities in comparing the rulership of Judah with the tree of Neb's dream in Daniel 4. After comparing the rulers of Judah to young cubs of a lioness, notice the similarities to the tree in Daniel 4 with what is said of that mother lion comparing her to a vine in verses 10-14, “'Your mother was like a vine in your blood, planted by waters. A bearer of fruit and full of branches she became because of abundant water. And they came to be for her strong rods, meant for the scepters of rulers. And its height gradually became tall up among branches, and it got to be visible because of its tallness, because of the abundance of its foliage.” —Ezekiel 19:10-14
Compare that description to Daniel 4:11 “The tree grew up and became strong, and its very height finally reached the heavens, and it was visible to the extremity of the whole earth. Its foliage was fair, and its fruit was abundant, and there was food for all on it. Under it the beast of the field would seek shade, and on its boughs the birds of the heavens would dwell, and from it all flesh would feed itself.”
Additionally, just as the tree was chopped down there is a similar outcome to the vine/tree in Ezekiel 19:12 “But she was finally uprooted in fury. To the earth she was thrown, and there was an east wind that dried up her fruit. Her strong rod was torn off and became dry. Fire itself devoured it. And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a waterless and thirsty land. And fire proceeded to come forth from her rod. It devoured her very shoots, her very fruit, and there proved to be in her no strong rod, no scepter for ruling.”
And so it was that the high one, Zedekiah, the last ruler of Israel, was brought low. Meanwhile, the Pagan gentile ruler of the time was put on high — even above the kings that had sat on Jehovah's throne in Jerusalem. The kingly representative of Jehovah on earth ceased for a time. The tree was banded until he who had the legal right would come and once again sit on 'Jehovah's throne' as king. This lowly one with the legal right would be put on high when the tree was unbanded. How do we know this to be the case? Amazingly once again, we have the Bible explaining itself in no uncertain terms. Again the book of Ezekiel clears it up.
The whole 17th chapter of Ezekiel describes the end of Zedekiah by means of Nebuchadnezzar, and thus the end of that tree. Notice it: Ezekiel 17 from verse 1:
“And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to me, saying: Son of man, propound a riddle and compose a proverbial saying toward the house of Israel. And you must say, This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: The great eagle [Nebuchadnezzar], having great wings, with long pinions, full of plumage, which had color variety, came to Lebanon [Jerusalem] and proceeded to take the treetop [Jehoiachin] of the cedar. He plucked off the very top of its young shoots and came bringing it to the land of Canaan; in a city of traders [Babylon; see Ezekiel 17:12] he placed it.
“Furthermore, he took some of the seed of the land and put it in a field for seed. As a willow by vast waters, as a willow tree [Zedekiah] he placed it. And it began to sprout and gradually became a luxuriantly growing vine low in height [Just a mere vassal king of Babylon, not lofty; see Ezekiel 17:13], inclined to turn its foliage inward; and as for its roots, they gradually came to be under it. And it finally became a vine and produced shoots and sent forth branches. And there came to be another great eagle [Egypt's Pharaoh; see Ezekiel 17:15], having great wings, and having large pinions, and, look! this very vine stretched its roots hungrily toward him. And its foliage it thrust out to him in order for him to irrigate it, away from the garden beds where it was planted. Into a good field, by vast waters, it was already transplanted, in order to produce boughs and to bear fruit, to become a majestic vine.
“Say, This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: Will it have success? Will not someone tear out its very roots and make its very fruit scaly? And must not all its freshly plucked sprouts become dry? It will become dry. Neither by a great arm nor by a multitudinous people will it have to be lifted up from its roots. And, look! although transplanted, will it have success? Will it not dry up completely, even as when the east wind touches it? In the garden beds of its sprout it will dry up.
“And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to me, saying: 'Say, please, to the rebellious house, Do you people actually not know what these things mean? Say, Look! The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and proceeded to take its king and its princes and bring them to himself at Babylon. Furthermore, he took one of the royal seed and concluded a covenant with him and brought him into an oath; and the foremost men of the land he took away, in order that the kingdom might become low, unable to lift itself up, that by keeping his covenant it might stand. But he finally rebelled against him in sending his messengers to Egypt, for it to give him horses and a multitudinous people.
Will he have success? Will he escape, he who is doing these things, and who has broken a covenant? And will he actually escape? As I am alive, is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, in the place of the king who put in as king the one that despised his oath and that broke his covenant, with him in the midst of Babylon he will die. And by a great military force and by a multitudinous congregation Pharaoh will not make him effective in the war, by throwing up a siege rampart and by building a siege wall, in order to cut off many souls. And he has despised an oath in breaking a covenant, and, look! he had given his hand and has done even all these things. He will not make his escape.'
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: 'As I am alive, surely my oath that he has despised and my covenant that he has broken I will even bring it upon his head. And I will spread over him my net, and he will certainly be caught in my hunting net; and I will bring him to Babylon and put myself on judgment with him there respecting his unfaithfulness with which he acted against me. And as regards all the fugitives of his in all his bands, by the sword they will fall, and the ones left remaining will be spread abroad even to every wind. And you people will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have spoken it.”
The remaining verses describe the return of a twig as God's ruler. “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: I myself will also take and put some of the lofty treetop of the cedar; from the top of its twigs I shall pluck off a tender one [Jesus] and I will myself transplant it upon a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain of the height of Israel I shall transplant it, and it will certainly bear boughs and produce fruit and become a majestic cedar. And under it there will actually reside all the birds of every wing; in the shadow of its foliage they will reside.”
Especially notice the final verse, verse 24: “And all the trees of the field will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have abased the high tree, have put on high the low tree, have dried up the still-moist tree and have made the dry tree blossom. I myself, Jehovah, have spoken and have done it.”
Did you notice? The high tree is abased, dried up. The rulership ends. But at a later date a “twig” from the royal tree will return. For a twig will be planted in Jehovah's Holy Mountain and it will become a majestic “tree”.
Did you see the connection that the Bible makes between Daniel 4 and Ezekiel 21 and 17? Compare Daniel 4:17 “that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.”
And compare Ezekiel 21:26,27 about the end of Zedekiah's rule and the beginning of Jesus' rule, “Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one's until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.”
And Ezekiel 17:24 “And all the trees of the field will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have abased the high tree, have put on high the low tree, have dried up the still-moist tree and have made the dry tree blossom. I myself, Jehovah, have spoken and have done it.”
All 3 Bible texts mention that the low will be put on high, and that Jehovah is the one giving the rulership to whomever he chooses. There can be no doubt that the tree pictures God's rulership. The end of Zedekiah ends that rulership and is replaced by the gentiles. Divine rulership only starts again once the one who has the “legal right” returns, the twig of Jesse if you will, and once again takes over that rulership.
Notice the correlation between scriptures as regards to trees and stumps and twigs and roots and Christ's kingship:
Isa 10:33 “Look! The true Lord, Jehovah of armies, is lopping off boughs with a terrible crash; and those tall in growth are being cut down, and the high ones themselves become low. And he has struck down the thickets of the forest with an iron tool, and by a powerful one Lebanon itself will fall. And there must go forth a twig out of the stump of Jesse; and out of his roots a sprout will be fruitful. And upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah.”
A few verses further on, in verse 10: “And it must occur in that day that there will be the root of Jesse that will be standing up as a signal for the peoples. To him even the nations will turn inquiringly, and his resting-place must become glorious.”
Jeremiah 23:5 “Look! There are days coming,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'and I will raise up to David a righteous sprout. And a king will certainly reign and act with discretion and execute justice and righteousness in the land.”
Ezekiel 17:22 “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: 'I myself will also take and put some of the lofty treetop of the cedar; from the top of its twigs I shall pluck off a tender one and I will myself transplant it upon a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain of the height of Israel I shall transplant it, and it will certainly bear boughs and produce fruit and become a majestic cedar. And under it there will actually reside all the birds of every wing; in the shadow of its foliage they will reside. And all the trees of the field will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have abased the high tree, have put on high the low tree, have dried up the still-moist tree and have made the dry tree blossom. I myself, Jehovah, have spoken and have done it.”
Zechariah 6:12 “And you must say to him, 'This is what Jehovah of armies has said: 'Here is the man whose name is Sprout. And from his own place he will sprout, and he will certainly build the temple of Jehovah. And he himself will build the temple of Jehovah, and he, for his part, will carry the dignity; and he must sit down and rule on his throne, and he must become a priest upon his throne, and the very counsel of peace will prove to be between both of them”
Rev 22:16 “I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.”
All of these Bible verses confirm that the twig that comes forth from the tree is the rulership of Jesus Christ as King of God's kingdom. However, the defining scripture that tops it all off and leaves us no doubt is found at Isaiah 6. Here at Isaiah 6:11, notice what is said in conjunction with the desolation of Jerusalem and the restoration of the seed that will come forth:
“At this I said: 'How long, O Jehovah?' Then he said: 'Until the cities actually crash in ruins, to be without an inhabitant, and the houses be without earthling man, and the ground itself is ruined into a desolation; and Jehovah actually removes earthling men far away, and the deserted condition does become very extensive in the midst of the land. And there will still be in it a tenth, and it must again become something for burning down, like a big tree and like a massive tree in which, when there is a cutting down of them, there is a stump; a holy seed will be the stump of it.”
While this scripture had fulfillment when Jerusalem was restored in 537BCE, it would also certainly apply to the holy seed which is to rule God's Kingdom, the foremost of whom is Jesus Christ himself. Yes the big, massive tree, was chopped down when Jerusalem was destroyed in 607BCE. However, there was a stump left and that stump is comprised of the holy seed, those who rule in God's Kingdom. Again further proof that the tree dream does indeed have direct bearing on God's Kingdom and His rulership.
Here is another thing to consider: Have you noted that every prophecy of Daniel concludes with Jesus arriving in God's Kingdom? The only prophecy that does not is in chapter 9, which concludes with the arrival of the Messiah who is the King of God's Kingdom.
Daniel chapter 2: “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite”
Daniel chapter 7: “And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the holy ones of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an indefinitely lasting kingdom, and all the rulerships will serve and obey even them.”
Daniel chapter 8: “And against the Prince of princes he will stand up, but it will be without hand that he will be broken.”
Daniel chapter 12: “And during that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people.”
What about Daniel 4? Does it also conclude with God's Kingdom? Daniel 4:17 says, “By the decree of watchers the thing is, and by the saying of holy ones the request is, to the intent that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.”
Here is something else to consider. Since one of Daniel's prophecies foretold the arrival of Jesus Christ on earth, wouldn't it be expected (or at least not surprising) that it would also tell about his heavenly arrival as king? Daniel 4 accomplishes that very purpose. Does it make sense that all the prophecies of Daniel point to the Messiah/King either coming on earth (once) or ruling in heaven (the rest), but that this one prophecy in Daniel 4 does not have anything to do with the Messiah/King but only Nebuchadnezzar?
The WT put it well when it said the following:
“...examination of the entire book of Daniel reveals that the element of time is everywhere prominent in the visions and prophecies it presents; and the world powers and events described in each such vision are shown, not as isolated or as occurring at random with the time element left ambiguous, but, rather, as fitting into a historical setting or time sequence. Additionally, the book repeatedly points toward the conclusion that forms the theme of its prophecies: the establishment of a universal and eternal Kingdom of God exercised through the rulership of the 'son of man.'
“In view of the above, it does not seem logical to evaluate the vision of the symbolic 'tree' and its reference to 'seven times' as having no other application than to the seven years of madness and subsequent recovery and return to power experienced by one Babylonian ruler...The time at which the vision was given: at the critical point in history when God, the Universal Sovereign, had allowed the very kingdom that he had established among his covenant people to be overthrown; the person to whom the vision was revealed: the very ruler who served as the divine instrument in such overthrow and who thereby became the recipient of world domination by divine permission, that is, without interference by any representative kingdom of Jehovah God; and the whole theme of the vision, namely: 'that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind' (Da 4:17) all of this gives strong reason for believing that the lengthy vision and its interpretation were included in the book of Daniel because of their revealing the duration of 'the appointed times of the nations' and the time for the establishment of God's Kingdom by his Christ. The fact is evident that the key point of the vision is Jehovah God's exercise of irresistible sovereignty in 'the kingdom of mankind,' and this provides the guide to the full meaning of the vision.
“The tree is shown to have an application to Nebuchadnezzar, who at that point in history was the head of the dominant World Power, Babylon. Yet, prior to Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Jerusalem, the typical kingdom of God ruling out of that city was the agency by which Jehovah expressed his rightful sovereignty toward the earth. It thus constituted a divine block or impediment for Nebuchadnezzar in attaining his goal of world domination. By allowing that typical kingdom at Jerusalem to be overthrown, Jehovah permitted his own visible expression of sovereignty through the Davidic dynasty of kings to be cut down. The expression and exercise of world domination in the 'kingdom of mankind,' unhindered by any representative kingdom of God, now passed into the hands of the Gentile nations. (La 1:5; 2:2, 16, 17)
“In the light of these facts the tree is seen to represent, beyond and above its application to Nebuchadnezzar, world sovereignty or domination by God's arrangement.”
If a day for a year is not applied then that means that the 7 times lasted from 607 to 600. Did a ruler of God's Kingdom come forth then? Logical reasoning will lead a person to believe that the day for a year rule must apply otherwise the prophecy is meaningless. We have as an example the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel chapter 9. The day for a year rule must apply in Daniel chapter 9 or the prophecy is meaningless and is of no value.
As we have already shown, Daniel used the word for 7 times instead of 7 years. Therefore it must mean more than 7 years. Otherwise he would have said 7 years not 7 times. Do you think that Jehovah was trying to trick us by using the terminology of 7 times, and then explaining the length of 3½ times in Revelation, only to merely mean that the 7 times that pass over are 7 years and that is all?
Also, at same time he supplied the rule 'a day for a year' when Ezekiel laid on his side for so many days (which, by the way, pointed to the destruction of Jerusalem in 607). He also supplied the prophecy of the 70 weeks which also needs the rule of 'a day for a year' for it to have value. The 70 weeks from 455 brings us to 453½. Nothing happened. So surely, it must be a day for a year.
With that in mind, is there any other reason to apply the day for a year rule to the dream? For a moment, let us reason on why God wanted us to know exactly how long 3½ times are. In one place he calls it 42 months, in another place he calls it 1260 days. If it only meant 42 regular months then why be so specific about it. What difference does a few days here or there make? Why not just 3½ years or 42 lunar or solar months? The only time a few days does make a big difference is when you are dealing with a prophecy that has a day for a year rule applied. In this case every day makes a big difference. When you combine this with the fact that every prophecy of Daniel either concludes with Jesus arriving in God's Kingdom, or with the arrival of the Messiah who is the King of God's Kingdom, then you have a pretty strong reason to apply the day for a year rule.
This is all very well, some may say, but how can we go further and apply the 2,520 years to the “times of the gentiles” that Jesus spoke of? Here are the words at Luke chapter 21:
“Furthermore, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those in the country places not enter into her; because these are days for meting out justice, that all the things written may be fulfilled. Woe to the pregnant women and the ones suckling a baby in those days! For there will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.”
Please take note that these words are different from the words of Matthew and Mark. In Matthew and Mark he does not specifically mention the Roman armies. He refers to the disgusting thing that causes desolation. Only here is he, without a doubt, talking about the Roman armies and what they will do to the literal city of Jerusalem. He states in verse 24 how those Jews in Jerusalem will die by the sword and be led into captivity. Then the statement is made that “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.”
Remember that Jesus is talking to his disciples who believe that in the very near future Jesus will restore the nation of Israel and reside as king over it. In Acts 1:6 we read, “When, now, they had assembled, they went asking him: 'Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?'” From this question it is clear that they are expecting Jesus to save Jerusalem and become the king. So when Jesus is telling them exactly what will happen to the literal city of Jerusalem, he then makes it clear to them that Jerusalem and its rulership, contrary to what they expect, will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed (seven) times of the nations are fulfilled. Only then will it truly be restored and he become king. Although they could not grasp that at the time, we can. Of course it was not to be the literal Jerusalem that was restored but the heavenly one.
We must not forget that Jesus is answering the question “what will be the sign of your presence and conclusion of system of things?” Then in Luke 21 he is telling what the near future holds for the literal city of Jerusalem and its people. Yet Jesus has not forgotten the big question: When is his presence? So after telling of the literal outcome of Jerusalem, he no doubt knows that his disciples are logically thinking, 'then Jerusalem will be restored and Christ's presence as king will begin,' just as they had previously asked in Acts 1:6. So he is letting them know that their thinking is wrong. Jerusalem will not then be immediately restored.
Thus he reminds them that Daniel's prophecy said that 'Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times (or seven times) of the nations are fulfilled.' Only then will his presence and kingship commence. Only then, after the appointed seven times of the nations have been fulfilled, will Jerusalem be restored. While they did not understand at the time, we do understand. So his words were not just for his disciples living, then but also for people living in the last days of this system of things.
Matthew and Mark mentioned the 'disgusting thing', so that definitely had two fulfillments:
However Luke 21:20-23 is specifically and directly speaking about the literal events that would happen in the first century. Those events do not have a specific fulfillment in the last days although the parallel is similar. So after Jesus tells us literally what would happen to Jerusalem and the Jews, he then explains to them that Jerusalem will be trampled until appointed times have ended. The Kingdom will not be restored until then. As they would later come to recognize (after holy spirit was poured out at Pentecost), God's Kingdom would not be established literally in Jerusalem as they had thought, but it would be a heavenly kingdom that would come after appointed times of the nations had ended.
To use an illustration: You go to an Elvis concert. He is older and has gained weight and is popping pills. He is not the King he use to be. A fire breaks out at the concert hall. Everybody begins scrambling for the doors. Elvis gets caught up in the crowd and falls down. He is being trampled on. After about 30 seconds a prophet appears to him and says to Elvis. “7 minutes will pass over you until you know who the real King is” Well after another 2 minutes passes another prophet appears and says, “Elvis' neck will be broken and the King will be trampled until the appointed minutes of the crowd are fulfilled.” Finally after the 7 minutes have passed the King stands up. He is young, thin, good looking, and rejuvenated just like at the beginning of his career. Notice that the phrase used is 'the King will be trampled. It works.
What does all this lead us to? That the Gentile Times began in 607 BCE with the last of the Judean kings who sat on Jehovah's throne, and ended in 1914 CE when Jesus, the twig, (who had the legal right to rule) became king on God's throne in the heavens. The events that took place on earth in 1914 and since then also confirm this.
I submit that the artfully contrived story is not 1914 but rather those with the artfully contrived false story are those that contend that 607 is not the date of Jerusalem's destruction and 1914 is not the end of the Gentile Times. Those promoting this artfully contrived false story that Jesus did not began his rule in 1914 are the same ones who fulfill the prophecy by saying, “Where is this promised presence of his?”
Critics of 607 point to the large body of secular evidence that seems to contradict it. Although there is much evidence, it must not be forgotten that, in effect, they choose to uphold what secular historians say as primary proof above the testimony of the Scriptures.
Historians such as Thiele “correct” the Bible where they believe it is wrong. Yes, in secular chronology, historians say the Bible is incorrect in many places, and then change its meaning to fit Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian secular chronology — trying to reconcile the Holy Scriptures with the writings of pagans.
Here's what one website had to say about Professor Thiele's approach to Bible chronology:
“Edwin R. Thiele indicates in his writings that Biblical chronology must conform to the Assyrian eponyms along with the apparent 763 BC eclipse of the sun.
“Even though he is considered a Biblical chronologist, he nevertheless “corrects” the Bible by using the reported eclipse of 763 BC and by using an Assyrian list of eponyms. [...] Thiele does not understand the dubiousness of using an eclipse to date events or the dubiousness of using the Assyrian list of eponyms to “correct” the Bible.
“[...] Thiele in his 1977 paperback book, A Chronology of the Hebrew Kings, tries to show that Biblical scripture on the reigns of the kings are hopelessly mixed and contradictory by mentioning some apparent contradictions and by quoting some words of noted scholars to the same effect. [...] Thiele at the end of Chapter one says in effect that he has the solutions, but his solutions ignore scripture and he reasons against some scripture.
“Thiele establishes his chronology based not on the Bible but on secular chronology. He uses the eclipse that is reported to have occurred on June 15, 763 BC along with the reconstructed Assyrian eponym list(s) (pp. 28ff). For example he states that:
““For many years Old Testament scholars have noticed that a total of 128 regnal years for the rulers of Judah from the accession of Athaliah to the end of Azariah ... was about a quarter of a century in excess of the years of contemporary Assyria ...” (p. 44).
“He tries to solve this problem by squeezing the Biblical chronology together so that it will agree with the Assyrian chronology by using “dual dating” and “overlapping regnal” schemes (Chap. 4 to 7). But this problem of the missing 25 years may have something to do with corrupt Assyrian kings’ list(s) and/or by the misidentification of the reported eclipse.
“In chapter 6 Thiele tries to fit Israel’s king Pekah’s reign before king Pekahiah in order to squeeze the Biblical chronology into the Assyrian chronology. [...] [He changes] scripture to suit his own theories and by saying without any proof that the scriptures were “late calculations” of records that were lost.
“In Thiele’ 1983 version of his, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, he is very aware of the problem his chronology causes for the scripture concerning Pekah, for he goes to great lengths to defend his idea (pp. 120, 129-137, 174).
“Thiele’s twisting and “reasoning” against scriptures concerning the reigns of Hoshea and Hezekiah is way off the mark (chap 7). Thiele’s main apparent goal is to fit Biblical chronology into the broken Assyrian chronology. But the Assyrian chronology cannot be trusted.” (Underlining ours)
Now, that is the sort of chronology that supporters for 587 would happily believe – yes, a secular chronology that contradicts the Bible and leads to the scriptures being “corrected” for its “hopelessly mixed and contradictory” statements. If we believe the Bible really is the inspired word of God, we cannot accept anything of the sort, irregardless of the secular evidence.
Indeed, the 20-year gap during the Babylonian reigns is only the first discrepancy. As one goes further back in history, the gaps and contradictions with secular history widen more and more – until eventually hundreds of years are involved.
Besides, it's not as if all secular evidence contradicts 607 – because it doesn't. The ancient Jewish historian Josephus argued that Jerusalem was empty for 70 years. He also lists the reigns of the Babylonian Kings – a list which curiously contradicts the Cannon of Ptolemy — for reasons that remain unknown.
Interestingly, not all experts support 587. At least one, Rolf Furuli of Oslo University, writes:
“The chronology of Parker and Dubberstein [hereafter, P&D] has been almost universally accepted for the last fifty years. According to P&D, the accession year of Nebuchadnezzar was 605 B.C.E and his destruction of Jerusalem occurred in 587 B.C.E. The conquest of Babylon by Cyrus occurred in 539...”
“A study of each cuneiform document used by P&D to show in which regnal years of Babylonian and Persian kings intercalary months were added, reveals that 51 percent of the "evidence" used by P&D has no real value, in this author's judgement. A comparison of 1450 cuneiform tablets dated in the reigns of the Persian kings reveals tablets for most of the kings that contradict P&D's scheme, which was based on first and last tablet dated to each king. On this basis it is argued that the chronology of P&D should be radically revised....”
“As of present I have reviewed data from about 7.000 business tablets from the New Babylonian Empire. There are so many tablets that are anomalous (from the point of view of the traditional chronology), that the whole scheme of P&D breaks down; each king seems to have ruled longer than P&D says.”
As we can see, at least some experts will support the Bible's viewpoint against the traditional 587 date. Perhaps one day it may be possible to fill the 20-year gap using secular sources.
Perhaps the evidence is already here, but we don't know it. Researchers sometimes “read into” tablets what they want to see. The same website we quoted earlier points out the following:
This does not mean all evidence for 587 is faked, because it certainly is not. However, as we can see, sometimes anomalous evidence may be disregarded because it doesn't say what it should say. It is assumed a priori that 587 is correct, as are all other dates that contradict Bible chronology. Perhaps some key evidence has been overlooked, disregarded, or ‘corrected’?
There are, of course, many contradictions between Biblical and secular chronology. For example, the 40-year desolation of Egypt never occurred according to the secular chronology which supports 587. However, we could spend hours considering them all.
Some are also quick to claim that numerous lines of evidence support 587. They argue that one or two lines of evidence can be dismissed, but many lines should not be. However, what is often forgotten is that sometimes different “lines of evidence” are actually from the same source. For example, the works of Berossus is often classed as one line of evidence, the work of Ptolemy as another, and the cuneiform documents as yet one more. Yet, both Berossus and Ptolemy got their information from the cuneiform documents. So in reality, those three “lines of evidence” are really just one.
Ultimately, of course, we do not base our belief in 607 on archaeological evidence, but on what the Bible says. No matter how much evidence is gathered by secular historians, we will never compromise, reinterpret, or correct the Bible to agree with secular history, as many have happily done.
Jehovah's Witnesses go by the Bible as the ultimate authority. We believe 70 years is 70 years long, and we no matter how much secular evidence is presented, it will never be enough to over-ride the Bible.
The reason the New World Translation used the word “devastations” and not “ruins” or “waste” is because it is a very precise translation. The word carries the idea of being deliberately destroyed, rather than simply being in disrepair.
For example, the Colosseum in Rome is certainly “in ruins”, but you could not say it was chorbâh because it was not attacked and severely damaged, it merely fell into disrepair over the years and became ruins. The ancient city of Carthage, however, only became ruins after being attacked and desolated by the Romans. Therefore, afterwards one could accurately describe that place as chorbâh.
Therefore, the New World Translation has faithfully translated the word chorbâh with the correct nuance in the English language. In fact, many other English translations use the same word.
The ancient Jewish historian Josephus lived during the 1st century, born circa 37 CE and died circa 100 CE. He recorded what where most likely the historical views of the Jews as well as the Jews who were part of the newly formed Christian congregation.
His records do not support 587 as the destruction for Jerusalem. In the following passage, he directly contradicts the modern apostate idea that exiles were taken during Jehoiakim's third year. Parts that are important I have underlined, and scriptures that agree are put in [brackets].
Now in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, one whose name was Nebuchadnezzar took the government over the Babylonians [Jeremiah 25:1], who at the same time went up with a great army to the city Carchemish, which was at Euphrates, upon a resolution he had taken to fight with Neco king of Egypt, under whom all Syria then was. And when Neco understood the intention of the king of Babylon, and that this expedition was made against him, he did not despise his attempt, but made haste with a great band of men to Euphrates to defend himself from Nebuchadnezzar; and when they had joined battle, he was beaten, and lost many ten thousands [of his soldiers] in the battle.
So the king of Babylon passed over Euphrates, and took all Syria, as far as Pelusium, excepting Judea. But when Nebuchadnezzar had already reigned four years, which was the eighth of Jehoiakim's government over the Hebrews, the king of Babylon made an expedition with mighty forces against the Jews, and required tribute of Jehoiakim [2 Kings 24:1], and threatened upon his refusal to make war against him. He was frighted at his threatening, and bought his peace with money, and brought the tribute he was ordered to bring for three years.
But on the third year, upon hearing that the king of the Babylonians made an expedition against the Egyptians, he did not pay his tribute [2 Kings 24:1; Daniel 1:1]; yet was he disappointed of his hope, for the Egyptians durst not fight at this time.
And indeed the prophet Jeremiah foretold every day, how vainly they relied on their hopes from Egypt, and how the city would be overthrown by the king of Babylon, and Jehoiakim the king would be subdued by him. But what he thus spake proved to be of no advantage to them, because there were none that should escape; for both the multitude and the rulers, when they heard him, had no concern about what they heard; but being displeased at what was said, as if the prophet were a diviner against the king, they accused Jeremiah, and bringing him before the court, they required that a sentence and a punishment might be given against him.
Now all the rest gave their votes for his condemnation, but the elders refused, who prudently sent away the prophet from the court of [the prison], and persuaded the rest to do Jeremiah no harm; for they said that he was not the only person who foretold what would come to the city, but that Micah signified the same before him, as well as many others, none of which suffered any thing of the kings that then reigned, but were honored as the prophets of God. So they mollified the multitude with these words, and delivered Jeremiah from the punishment to which he was condemned. Now when this prophet had written all his prophecies, and the people were fasting, and assembled at the temple, on the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, he read the book he had composed of his predictions of what was to befall the city, and the temple, and the multitude. And when the rulers heard of it, they took the book from him, and bid him and Baruch the scribe to go their ways, lest they should be discovered by one or other; but they carried the book, and gave it to the king; so he gave order, in the presence of his friends, that his scribe should take it, and read it. When the king heard what it contained, he was angry, and tore it, and cast it into the fire, where it was consumed.
He also commanded that they should seek for Jeremiah, and Baruch the scribe, and bring them to him, that they might be punished. However, they escaped his anger.
Now, a little time afterwards, the king of Babylon made an expedition against Jehoiakim, whom he received [into the city], and this out of fear of the foregoing predictions of this prophet, as supposing he should suffer nothing that was terrible, because he neither shut the gates, nor fought against him; yet when he was come into the city, he did not observe the covenants he had made, but he slew such as were in the flower of their age, and such as were of the greatest dignity, together with their king Jehoiakim, whom he commanded to be thrown before the walls, without any burial; and made his son Jehoiachin king of the country, and of the city: he also took the principal persons in dignity for captives, three thousand in number, and led them away to Babylon; among which was the prophet Ezekiel, who was then but young. And this was the end of king Jehoiakim, when he had lived thirty-six years, and of them reigned eleven. But Jehoiachin succeeded him in the kingdom, whose mother's name was Nehushta; she was a citizen of Jerusalem. He reigned three months and ten days.
But a terror seized on the king of Babylon, who had given the kingdom to Jehoiachin, and that immediately; he was afraid that he should bear him a grudge, because of his killing his father, and thereupon should make the country revolt from him; wherefore he sent an army, and besieged Jehoiachin in Jerusalem; but because he was of a gentle and just disposition, he did not desire to see the city endangered on his account, but he took his mother and kindred, and delivered them to the commanders sent by the king of Babylon, and accepted of their oaths, that neither should they suffer any harm, nor the city; which agreement they did not observe for a single year, for the king of Babylon did not keep it, but gave orders to his generals to take all that were in the city captives, both the youth and the handicraftsmen, and bring them bound to him; their number was ten thousand eight hundred and thirty-two [2 Kings 24:14]; as also Jehoiachin, and his mother and friends. And when these were brought to him, he kept them in custody, and appointed Jehoiachin's uncle, Zedekiah, to be king; and made him take an oath, that he would certainly keep the kingdom for him, and make no innovation, nor have any league of friendship with the Egyptians.
The Bible agrees on the order of events. Here are the same order of events in the Bible:
First, it tells us “In [Jehoiakim's] days Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came up, and so Jehoiakim became his servant for three years. However, he turned back and rebelled against him.” (2 Kings 24:1) According to Josephus, Babylon forced Judah to become a vassal King during the eighth year of Jehoiakim's reign in Judah – not the third. Jeremiah agrees, stating that all was well during his fourth and fifth years and the King was unafraid of any Babylonian attack. Further, it contradicts the idea that exiles had been taken. Jeremiah also mysteriously forgets to list any exiles from that year (because it didn't happen).
Other parts of the Bible tell us what the Babylonian King did to this rebel. “Against him Nebuchadnezzar's the king of Babylon came up that he might bind him with two fetters of copper to carry him off to Babylon. And some of the utensils of the house of Jehovah Nebuchadnezzar's brought to Babylon and then put them in his palace in Babylon.” (2 Chronicles 36:6-7) Yes, because of Jehoiakim's rebellion, the Babylonian army came up and took “some” of the temple utensils. Evidentially, the fetters were never used, for Jehoiakim was killed, as Daniel confirms: “Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and proceeded to lay siege to it. In time Jehovah gave into his hand Jehoiakim the king of Judah and a part of the utensils of the house of the true God, so that he brought them to the land of Shinar to the house of his god”. (Daniel 1:1-2) Yes, Jehovah “gave into his hand” the rebel Judean King, killing him, and he took “a part” of the temple utensils away. This is what Josephus confirms.
What happens next? “Jehoiachin his son began to reign in place of him... and for three months and ten days he reigned in Jerusalem”. Why such a short reign? Because, “at the return of the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and proceeded to bring him to Babylon with desirable articles of the house of Jehovah.” (2 Chronicles 36:8, 10) In fact, the Bible confirms that Jehoiachin surrendered. “Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he with his mother and his servants and his princes and his court officials; and the king of Babylon got to take him.” Earlier when they killed his father, they only took “some” of the temple utensils, but now the Babylonians take “all” the gold temple utensils and “all” the treasures of the house back with them to Babylon. “Then he brought out from there all the treasures of the house of Jehovah and the treasures of the king’s house, and went on to cut to pieces all the gold utensils that Solomon the king of Israel had made”. (2 Kings 24:12-15) After this, King Nebuchadnezzar leaves Zedekiah on the throne of Judah. Again, all this lines up with Josephus.
So within the same year, two lots of exiles are taken. First, when Jehoiakim is killed 3,000 dignitaries are taken, then a few short months later “at the return of the year” Nebuchadnezzar comes back and Jehoiachin is taken away along with 10,000 more exiles.
Jeremiah lists all dignitaries taken, and tells us that the 3,000 were taken during Nebuchadnezzar's seventh full year (or eighth year of rule): “These are the people whom Nebuchadrezzar took into exile: in the seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three Jews.” This is not the exile that occurred at the end of Jehoiachin's 3-month reign, when 10,000 were taken. No, this is the exile that took place after his father, Jehoiakim, was killed – the first exile when 3,000 are taken. Why doesn't Jeremiah say the 3,000 were taken during Nebuchadnezzar's 1st year, as the apostates claim? Because there were no exiles taken in that year.
As Jeremiah says, the 3,000 were taken after Jehoiakim was killed. He plainly says this was in Nebuchadnezzar's 7th full year of rule, or 8th year as King – not his 1st year, which corresponds to Jehoiakim's 3rd as the apostates argue. If the 1st century Jews and their most widely-respected historian didn't believe in the fictional exile during Jehoiakim's 3rd year, as apostates and Christendom try to teach today, then the 1st century Christian congregation probably didn't believe in it either. That's because it never happened. Josephus, the Bible, and the ancient Jewish population are correct, while the modern 587 theory is mistaken.
Because none of apostate's interpretations allows for a full 70 years (with the most popular being 68 years), they must think of ways to explain this problem away.
One tactic is to argue the 70 years a round figure. However, this is a poor argumentation. First of all, why would God give a round figure? Is he not powerful enough or not sufficiently all-knowing as to give the exact date? Further, the 70 years were to fulfill the Sabbaths for the land. The number 70 is very significant for this, whereas 68 falls short and does not work. Is Jehovah not powerful enough for his 70 years to be 70 years long?
Additionally, could we also argue that other figures are round? Was Noah in the ark for about 40 days and nights, perhaps 38, 39, or 41? Were the Israelites afflicted in Egypt for around 400 years, maybe 401 or 398? Was the Abrahamic Covenant validated for somewhere near 430 years, possibly 428 or 429? What about the 7 creative days, were they 7-ish days, perhaps 5 or 6 or even 8? Was Jesus ressurrected after nearly 3 days, perhaps 2 or 4? Will Christ reign for roughly 1000 years, turning out to be 998 or some other number?
The prophets said 70 years. They did not mean 68 or 69 or any other number. 70 means 70 and it is a significant number for fulfilling the Sabbaths..
Another tactic is to artificially push forward the date the Jews returned home to make their interpretation fit properly. However, to do this they must ignore verses in Ezra and also contradict the secular history they are trying to promote.
Despite the overwhelming evidence in Jeremiah that Judah and Jerusalem were not devastated in the third or fourth year of Jehoiakim, some apostates have managed to find a verse that sort-of sounds a bit like it might be supporting their idea (despite many other passages contradicting it).
Jeremiah 25:1, 2, 17, 18 reads as follows:
"The word that occurred to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, that is, the first year of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon; which Jeremiah the prophet spoke concerning all the people of Judah and concerning all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying . . . And I proceeded to take the cup out of the hand of Jehovah and to make all the nations drink to whom Jehovah had sent me: namely, Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and her kings, her princes, to make them a devastated place, an object of astonishment, something to whistle at and a malediction, just as at this day." Jeremiah 25:17-18
Some take the words "just as at this day" as an indication that Judah was already considered a devastated place by the fourth year of Jehoiakim. However, Jeremiah is talking in the past-tense. He is here writing about the prophecy that occurred to him in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, many years before he wrote his book.
In no way does this imply that Jeremiah chapter 25 is being written in that very year. Rather, it is a narration of the events that took place back in that year. In Bible translations that include quotation marks where appropriate (NWT, NIV, RSV, By, NKJV), one will notice that the verses that follow verse 2 are enclosed in quotation marks. It will also be noted that verses 17 to 23 of Jeremiah chapter 25, which contain the words in question, are not enclosed in quotation marks, as are the majority of verses in chapter 25. This is because verses 17 and 18 are Jeremiah's comments on the event, written after Judah had been laid desolate.
Thus, the words "just as at this day" refer to the time when Jeremiah 25 was written down (i.e. after the destruction of Jerusalem) and therefore, not in the fourth year of Jehoiakim which refers specifically to the events being narrated.
The 40-year desolation of Egypt and the 70-years when Tyre was forgotten, are fatal problems to the 587 date. To try and explain-away these issues, various 587 promoters have used various tactics. Here are some of them:
Tactic 1: Contradict yourself
Nebuchadnezzar's desolation of Egypt took place immediately after attacking Tyre, and after he brought more exiles to Babylon in his 23rd year not in his 37th year.
Apart from contradicting their own secular history, and the problem of Neb's siege of Tyre lasting many years, this attempt to explain the problem away contradicts the Bible.
Their argument demands that Egypt was desolated by Nebuchadnezzar, but still powerful enough (and inhabited) so that King Neb returned many years later and attacked it a second time. The Bible disagrees, and specifically says that there “will not pass through it the foot of earthling man" for a full 40 years. Obviously, their desperate attempt to explain away the problem is wrong. See our chart to see how this looks on a time-line.
Additionally, according to them Ezekiel said (talking of the future) that Egypt would be given to Babylon. Even though, according to this explanation, it already had been and was, in fact, desolated already.
Needless to say, its a poor patchwork and an obvious attempt to explain away a critical problem.
Tactic 2: Use a logical fallacy
In another prophecy about Tyre Ezekiel said Tyre would never be rebuilt but it was, therefore since the Tyre prophecy is figurative then the Egypt prophecy must be figurative.
First of all, the 70 year prophecy for Tyre is not figurative. Ancient Tyre was never rebuilt. The prophecy in Ezekiel says:
“...they will certainly spoil your resources and plunder your sales goods, and tear down your walls, and your desirable houses they will pull down. And your stones and your woodwork and your dust they will place in the very midst of the water. And I will cause the turmoil of your singing to cease, and the very sound of your harps will be heard no more. And I will make you a shining, bare surface of a crag. A drying yard for dragnets is what you will become. Never will you be rebuilt; for I myself, Jehovah, have spoken”.
This part of the prophecy was indeed fulfilled in in a very literal way in two stages. First, King Neb attacked the city as Ezekiel predicted. Yet that was only the beginning of Tyre's downfall. The prophecy had its complete fulfillment when Alexander the Great pitched the mainland city into the sea to build a causeway to the island part of the city before defeating that. The ancient city and Kingdom of Tyre was never rebuilt, and indeed did become a fishing village “a drying yard for dragnets”.
However, in the initial fulfillment of this prophecy Nebuchadnezzar attacked the city and it was indeed “forgotten" for 70 years as Jehovah revealed through the prophet Isaiah. These are all literal - not figurative - events.
Yet what does this have to do with Egypt? Nothing. It is faulty reasoning to say of two totally unrelated subjects without any connection, 'Since this is figurative then that must also be figurative.' Even if we assume that Ezekiel's Tyre prophecy is figurative, it must be shown that this is somehow connected to the Egypt prophecy and that it must also be figurative. There is no connection except that both prophecies were made by Ezekiel.
Is it reasonable to conclude that all prophecies in the Bible are figurative because Ezekiel's Tyre prophecy is figurative (when we know it was not)? Do we assume that all prophecies of Ezekiel are figurative because the Tyre prophecy is figurative? Or do we just pick-and-choose whatever prophecy or time-period in the Bible doesn't fit with secular chronology and declare “this is figurative”?
Apparently 587 promoters are allowed to do that.
Tactic 3: Make something up
Jehovah told Jonah to tell Nineveh that it would be overthrown but when Nineveh repented he did not carry it out so likewise Egypt.
The Bible goes into detail in the story of Jonah and explains exactly how the king of Nineveh and his subjects repented, thus Jehovah spared them. Do we have such details of Egypt's repentance anywhere in the Bible? Are we told how Pharoah and his crowd repented in sackcloth and ashes when they heard of their coming destruction? Surely such a huge act of repentance by one of the most notoriously pagan nations in history would have been recorded in the Bible as an example for all? Why was such an incredible event never mentioned in the Bible not even once? Even traditional Jewish history records no such event, nor do Jewish historians such as Josephus.
Furthermore, how about in the secular evidence? Do we have available the ancient fragments describing to us how Pharaoh and his crowd left his pagan gods and turned to the worship of Jehovah? Why it is difficult to even answer this point without laughing? Probably because it is nonsense concocted by a 587 promoter on an Internet message board.
Tactic 4: Use Another logical fallacy: Argument from ignorance
There is no secular evidence that gives any indication that Egypt was desolated during this time period.
Actually, there is. Although there is very little secular evidence about Egypt during this time, It is not surprising that the nation of Egypt itself would fail to record such a defeat. After all, they did not record the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt either. Does that mean the exodus never happened?
However the Babylonians did record this defeat upon Egypt. The evidence shows that just two years after the final part of the prophecy against Egypt an attack was made by Neb against Egypt. The Babylonian chronicle known as BM 33041 says: “In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to make war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad...”
Fortunately for 587 proponents the rest of the chronicle is badly damaged and the extent of the defeat of Egypt cannot be read. It would certainly be interesting to read if historians had available the entire inscription. There is a good possibility that we would have the further proof. However, the part of the chronicle that can be deciphered is enough to prove that a campaign by Neb against Egypt did take place right on time just after Ezekiel prophesied it. Just a coincidence? Hardly. Ezekiel's prophecy was fulfilled right on time.
Tactic 5: Yet Another logical fallacy: If I don't know how it can be done, then it can't be done
There is no way that Babylon could have displaced millions of Egytians.
On the contrary, this is what Babylon was known to do. They had experience at displacing entire nations. This even happened to Judah where millions were killed and displaced by Babylon. The surrounding nations also suffered this fate.
Yes, there is proof positive that Babylon could and did exile entire nations from their homeland. On top of this, the all powerful Jehovah prophesied it and could make it so. What a straw grasping argument that goes against Jehovah's power and the actual nature of Nebuchadnezzar to exile people from their land!
Tactic 6: My argument isn't wrong, the evidence is wrong!
Ezekiel was a false prophet and neither the Tyre prophecy nor the Egypt prophecy came true.
This argument is made by the ones that realize that if Ezekiel's prophecy is accurate then 587 is wrong. So rather than being dishonest and pretending that the Bible supports 587 they come right out and tell you that the Bible is wrong on this.
One well known leading opposer of 607 named Allan boldly declared: “Ezekiel demonstrably falsely prophesied about the ultimate rebuilding of Tyre, and all of his other prophecies are called into question...The simple fact is that Ezekiel prophesied falsely, and therefore his words cannot be taken as gospel.” In making such an admission he admits that he is well aware that the Bible does not support 587 at all and can only support 607.
Tactic 7: Make something up (again)
Jehovah called off the desolation of Egypt because Nebuchadnezzar went too far in his harsh treatment of Judah thus God decided not to give Neb the spoils of Egypt.
How can this be the case? The final part of Ezekiel's prophecy was given about 17 years after Neb desolated Jerusalem, the 27th year of Ezekiel's exile. Therefore Jehovah had already seen and and for a fact knew exactly the treatment that Neb had measured out to Judah when he made the prophecy.
Do we imagine that Jehovah had temporary amnesia and thus prophesied that Neb would desolate Egypt and get much booty? Then Jehovah's memory returned so that he said, 'Nevermind. I just remembered what Neb did to my people in presumptuously going beyond what I wanted him to do. Scratch that last prophecy about Egypt's desolation.' The implications are ridiculous.
Besides, why did the prophets forget to mention this change-of-heart? Why is it not mentioned in the Bible even once? Why is the prophecy of 40 years recorded, but not the fact it didn't happen?
Furthermore, is it not awfully convenient to concoct these “explanations” to explain away whatever it is that contradicts your argument? How dishonest to say “oh, yeah the Bible did say that would happen, but it disagrees with my beliefs, therefore it mustn't have actually happened for some reason", and then go forth to make up that reason in your head and present it as fact.
If one is going to believe such things, why bother even reading what the Bible says at all, why not just make it all up and believe whatever you want?
Tactic 8: Contradict yourself (again)
40 years is not literal. 40 is symbolic of many years.
If that is the case then the Bible should provide examples of 40 year or day prophecies that turned out to be symbolic and not literally 40 years or days. And then there should be some viable reason, some proof that the symbolism should be applied in the case of Egypt's desolation. What do we find?
Some defenders of 587 have tried to use the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, the raining of 40 days and 40 nights at the time of the flood, Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness, and so forth as proof that 40 can be symbolic of many. That's right - all these events covered 40 years or 40 days literally, not figuratively!
By using these examples they have done nothing more than disprove their own argument of a figurative 40 year desolation. There is not a single Bible precedent for assigning the 40 year desolation of Egypt as figurative. Doing that is literally without merit. On the contrary, every single 40-day or 40-year period in the Bible is shown to be literal. Amazing!
It seems that some people are so obsessed with discrediting Jehovah's Witnesses that they would sooner make the unreasonable and unscriptural arguments presented above than admit to clear logic and scripture. These persons stubbornly refuse to admit that secular chronology is wrong, and that the Bible is right. For anyone who believes the Bible, the year of 607 BCE is the only possible date for the destruction of Jerusalem - unless you want to entertain the so-called “explanations” above, of course.
The Bible clearly says that the land will be without inhabitants during the 70 years. However, this poses apostates with a thorny problem. They argue that the land did indeed have inhabitants for at least 20 years during that period. How do they explain the problem away?
By mis-applying Jeremiah 52:20 which says, “In the twenty-third year of Nebuchadrezzar, Nebuzaradan the chief of the bodyguard took Jews into exile, seven hundred and forty-five souls.” You see, the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar is after Jerusalem was destroyed, yet the scripture talks of more Jews being taken into exile. Hence, some proponents of 587 use this verse to show that the land was not without inhabitants during the 70 year period, in Nebuchadnezzar's 23rd year. Is that what the Bible is saying? No.
After the temple was destroyed, a few people still remained in Jerusalem, but not for long. 2 Kings 25:25-26 tell us: “In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood, came with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and also the men of Judah and the Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. At this, all the people from the least to the greatest, together with the army officers, fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.”
Here the Bible clearly says that all those who remained among the ruins of Jerusalem after it's destruction, fled to Egypt. Now let us look what Jeremiah said about those Jews in Egypt. In Jeremiah chapter 44 he says:
“The word that occurred to Jeremiah for all the Jews that were dwelling in the land of Egypt, the ones dwelling in Migdol and in Tahpanhes and in Noph and in the land of Pathros, saying: “This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said, ‘You yourselves have seen all the calamity that I have brought in upon Jerusalem and upon all the cities of Judah, and here they are a devastated place this day, and in them there is no inhabitant. It is because of their badness that they did in order to offend me by going and making sacrificial smoke and rendering service to other gods whom they themselves had not known, neither you nor your forefathers.
And I kept sending to you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending, saying: “Do not do, please, this detestable sort of thing that I have hated.” But they did not listen, nor did they incline their ear to turn back from their badness by not making sacrificial smoke to other gods. So my rage, and my anger, was poured out and it burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they came to be a devastated place, a desolate waste, as at this day.’”
First all, these verses confirm that Jerusalem and Judah are deserted, desolated and ruined. To claim they are not is senseless. Now, what will happen to Jews in Egypt? Jeremiah continues saying:
“Therefore hear the word of Jehovah, all Judah who are dwelling in the land of Egypt, ‘“Here I myself have sworn by my great name,” Jehovah has said, “that my name will no more prove to be something called out by the mouth of any man of Judah, saying, ‘As the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is alive!’ in all the land of Egypt. Here I am keeping alert toward them for calamity and not for good; and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt will certainly come to their finish by the sword and by the famine, until they cease to be. And as for the ones escaping from the sword, they will return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all those of the remnant of Judah, who are coming into the land of Egypt to reside there as aliens, will certainly know whose word comes true, that from me or that from them.”” —Jeremiah 44:26-28
As you see, only few will escape the death and will eventually return to Judah one day. Now the answer to the question is clear. Those Jews who were taken into exile during Nebuchadnezzar's 23th year, were those who had fled to Egypt. Evidentially, while Nebuchadnezzar still had Tyre under siege, his guard Nebuzaradan attacked Egypt and caught up with the Jewish refugees. That is why Jeremiah 52:20 says “In the twenty-third year of Nebuchadrezzar, Nebuzaradan the chief of the bodyguard took Jews into exile”. For Nebuchadnezzar himself was evidentially elsewhere.
Jeremiah 44:28 says, “as for the ones escaping from the sword [in Egypt], they will return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number”. Another verse says, “there will come to be no escapee or survivor for the remnant of Judah who are entering in to reside there as aliens, in the land of Egypt, even to return to the land of Judah to which they are lifting up their soulful desire to return in order to dwell; for they will not return, except some escaped ones.”
During Nebuzaradan the bodyguard's attack on Egypt, he promptly took all surviving Jews into exile, “seven hundred and forty-five souls” (Jeremiah 52:20). Escaping to Egypt did the surviving Jews no good at all — most either ended up dead, or being taken away in exile to Babylon anyway. Even fewer will have managed to finally return all those years later in 537 BCE.
Ezekiel 33:21 says, “At length it occurred in the twelfth year, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month of our exile, that there came to me the escaped one from Jerusalem, saying: "The city has been struck down!"”
It has been pointed out that the above verse is reporting events which happened after Jerusalem's destruction and also after the last Jews fled to Egypt. Hence, the desolation had already begun. Yet, verse 24 of the same chapter states, “Son of man, the inhabitants of these devastated places are saying even concerning the soil of Israel, 'Abraham happened to be just one and yet he took possession of the land. And we are many; to us the land has been given as something to possess.'”
So, how should we understand this? How can there be inhabitants if the land is supposed to be “desolated” and without any inhabitants according to other prophecies? Is it proof that during the “desolation” there were still people living in Judah?
The short answer is a simple ‘no’. The long answer is this:
As far as the exiles in Babylon knew, Jerusalem had not yet been destroyed. This was in the days before CNN, and news took as long to travel as it took to walk, run, or ride a chariot.
For Ezekiel and the other exiles in Babylon, the knowledge of the situation in Judea had a great time-delay. It wasn't for several months after the destruction of Jerusalem that they learned about it. However, the night before the messenger arrived, Jehovah told Ezekiel in advance that the city had been devastated. These are the scriptures under scrutiny here.
So, due to the time-delay of the Babylonian exiles, after the messenger arrives they will only know that Jerusalem has been destroyed, and that the land has been devastated. The news of it's total abandonment, which has also already occured, will not reach them for some time more. The escaped one can only report that the city has been conquered — he doesn't know anything else.
However, Jehovah gives Ezekiel a bit more information about what has happened after the destruction. “Son of man, the inhabitants of these devastated places are saying even concerning the soil of Israel, ‘Abraham happened to be just one and yet he took possession of the land. And we are many; to us the land has been given as something to possess.’”
This information is time-delayed. Although the last “inhabitants of these devastated places” have long since fled to Egypt, from the perspective of the exiles in Babylon, as far as they know Jerusalem is conquered and there are still survivors amongst the ruins of Judah.
Jehovah now directs Ezekiel to make a speech in front of the other exiles in Babylon. He is directed to speak metaphorically, as if he is talking to those very ones who have survived the destruction of Jerusalem and who are now living amongst the ruins.
In front of the Jewish exiles in Babylon he says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “With the blood you keep eating, and your eyes you keep lifting to your dungy idols ... you have defiled each one the wife of his companion. So should you possess the land?””
By metaphorically directing his question to those survivors who wind up living amongst the ruins of Judah, it would move to shame his audience of exiles in Babylon. They would be reminded of why they are in exile, and told why Jehovah has destroyed their city and why he will not allow any survivors to remain in the devastated land.
Now the prophet directs his words to his audience of exiles: “This is what you should say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “As I am alive, surely the ones who are in the devastated places will fall by the sword itself”’” Yes, for a certainty, those living amongst the ruins will not remain living there for long.
Jehovah continues, ”I shall actually make the land a desolate waste, even a desolation, and the pride of its strength must be made to cease and the mountains of Israel must be laid desolate, with no one passing through. And they will have to know that I am Jehovah when I make the land a desolate waste, even a desolation, on account of all their detestable things that they have done.”
Here Ezekiel again justifies the destruction to his fellow exiles, showing how they deserve it. He also confirms that the survivors of the desolation will not remain there, for soon there shall be “no one passing through”.
Of course, in reality the desolation had already begun and the land was already without any inhabitants — the last survivors having fled to Egypt a few weeks earlier. However, from the perspective of the Jewish exiles in Babylon, only Jerusalem had been destroyed and there were still Jewish survivors living in Judah. No doubt some Jews thought those survivors would be able to remain in the land, posessing it as they have done continually since ancient times.
Ezekiel confirms this will not be the case — the land will be taken off them and no Jews will remain there. Eventually other messengers would have inevitably come and updated the exiles with the latest news — confirming that Ezekiel was right, that the land became completely abandoned just as Jehovah said.
Indeed, Jehovah had already provided proof that Ezekiel is a true prophet. The account says that Ezekiel spoke the above words the day before the escaped one came and reported Jerusalem's destruction. No doubt, the next day when the report did arrive, the Jewish exiles would see that Ezekiel really was speaking from God. Likewise, when the next messenger arrived to confirm the complete abandonment of the land, Ezekiel's words will have been vindicated a second time. The chapter ends by saying “And when it comes true — look! it must come true — they will also have to know that a prophet himself had proved to be in the midst of them.”
At least one critic has wrongly claimed that this passage was written "written ten years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem," hence it is evidence that "the devastations of Jerusalem" had already begun before the destruction of the city. This, of course, requires you to ignore all the evidence we have already considered.
Such is easily disproved. Open your Bible to Ezekiel chapter 33 where the verses appear. See verses in question (24 and 27), and then simply glance up at the earlier verses, particularly verse 21. You can see that the words were not said “ten years before the destruction of Jerusalem” at all. It is nonsense.
The passage tells us exactly when the words were said: “in the twelfth year, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month of our exile, that there came to me the escaped one from Jerusalem, saying: “The city has been struck down!”” Yes, it was in the twelfth year of Ezekiel's exile, several months after the city had been destroyed. That is when Ezekiel starts to say, “And the word of Jehovah began to occur to me, saying: “Son of man, the inhabitants of these devastated places are saying...”” and the account goes on.
That is why Ezekiel and Jehovah referred to “these devastated places”, because it was written after Jerusalem's destruction – not 10 years before it. It it not clear why critics ever thought such a thing in the first place.
Jeremiah 29:10 states: “For this is what Jehovah has said, ‘In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to you people, and I will establish toward you my good word in bringing you back to this place.’”
The argument is made that Jeremiah was speaking to those who went into exile with Jehoiachin, saying that they would be there 70 years. However, according to the 607-chronology of Jehovah's Witnesses, those people were there 80 years.
Here is an answer. Notice that Jeremiah does not say ‘you people in Babylon right now will be there for 70 years’. He says the words, “In accord with the fulfilling of the seventy years at Babylon”. These words are the key. Just what was the fulfilling of the 70 years? Not only does Daniel tell us at Daniel 9:2, “for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.”, but we are also shown this in 2 Chronicles 36:21, “All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.”
The 70 years at Babylon coincide with the 70 years of desolation of Judah and the 70 years of servitude. The 70 years could only commence when Jerusalem was devastated. The prophet was not speaking to the first batch of exiles. Besides, even if we accepted their wrong argument, their 587-based chronology would still contradict — for it would be 60 years instead of 80. So the promoters of 587 chronology are shooting themselves in the foot.
One apostate who believes that he is the Messiah (I'm not joking), has made the following argument:
Ezekiel 28:3 states: “look! you are wiser than Daniel. There are no secrets that have proved a match for you.”. Since these words were written after only six years of Daniel's exile, he argues that he must have interpreted the King's dream in the 2nd year in order to gain such fame.
One simple scripture proves this wrong. At the end of his 3-year training, “the king began to speak with them, and out of them all no one was found like Daniel... he even got to find them ten times better than all the magic practicing priests and the conjurers that were in all his royal realm.”
Yes, he was recognized as being 10 times wiser than all others. and he still had 3 more years to prove himself even more wise. Not all events are recorded during these 6 years of exile. And considering only a small community of 3,023 Jews were in Babylon at this time (Jeremiah 52:28), Ezekiel would easily have heard of Daniel and had good reason to write what he did.
The JW scholar Rolf Furuli of Oslo University has been investigating the Vat 4956 tablet, the ancient document which many tout as proof that 587 is the correct date for Jerusalem's destruction. Along with his other research, he may have found an explanation for the 20-year gap with secular history. More details will be seen in his upcoming Volume II of Babylonian Chronology which is currently being written.
A letter from Bro Furuli did appear here, but has been withdrawn at the author's request as he does not wish his research to be made public until it is fully investigated and verified.
To get around the problems caused to their theories by the book of Daniel, some 587 promoters have come up with an extremely complex way of “explaining” the problems. It causes Daniel's book to suffer from gross inconsistency, for those who believe in 587 anyway.
Daniel 1:5 says, “Furthermore, to them [Daniel and his friends] the king appointed a daily allowance from the delicacies of the king and from his drinking wine, even to nourish them for three years, that at the end of these they might stand before the king.”
That may seem straightforward, but no – for self-proclaimed “chronologists” are on hand to tell you what it actually means.
They claim Daniel's so-called “three years” of training was actually somewhere between one year, two months and two years, two months. That way, they can say Daniel was brought to Babylon in the artificial exile they have invented (which Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Ezra, and others all forgot to mention), can finish his training, be brought before the King, and become known as one of the wise men of Babylon – all in time to interpret the dream before Neb's 2nd year ends.
How? By claiming that Daniel's training is counted in the manner of a Jewish King, but linked to the years of Neb's kingship, but counted in the manner of a Babylonian king.
Neb began his reign in August 605; Daniel began his training in February 604, and just two months later in April, he has completed 1 year of training. But it's only been two months, why? Because it is reasoned that Neb's first year as king (after his accession year) begins in April 604, and therefore so does Daniel's second year of training. When April 603 arrives Daniel has completed 2 years of training (even though it has only been 1 year and two months). Neb now starts his 2nd year in Spring, 603. It is during this 2nd year that Daniel will complete his training and interpret Neb's dream and become district ruler. So, even if Daniel interprets the dream on the very last day of Neb's 2nd year, Daniel's 3 years of training would at the very most be 2 years and 2 months, or as little as 1 year 2 months. Confused? –See our charts to see how this looks on a time-line
Keep in mind that the Babylonians do not count the accession year as the first year. Only Jewish Kings were known to be counted in that way. So we must assume that for some odd reason, when Daniel penned the words “three years... at the end of”, he was using the years of Neb's reign to count the years of his training, but in the manner that the years of Jewish kings are counted. Oh, and this is after doing the opposite four verses earlier (in Daniel 1:1) where he counts Jehoiakim's reign in the manner the Babylonians use.
Do you really think all of this is what Daniel was thinking when he said, “the king appointed a daily allowance from the delicacies of the king and from his drinking wine, even to nourish them for three years, that at the end of these they might stand before the king”? Or do you rather think it is an example of someone with an agenda going to extremely complicated lengths to strain out of the scriptures what they want it to say? Besides, using such logic, if today was December 31st, and you asked me a question, I could say “I will answer you at the end of two years”, and then answer you the very next day on January 1st.
I was unable to find a single Bible translation that agrees with such an idea in this part of Daniel.
Holman Christian Standard Bible: They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to serve in the king's court.
New American Standard: “...and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king's personal service.
King James Version: “...so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.”
New Living Translation: “They were to be trained for a three-year period, and then some of them would be made his advisers in the royal court.”
God's Word: “They were to be trained for three years. After that, they were to serve the king.”
Young's Literal: “...so as to nourish them three years, that at the end thereof they may stand before the king.”
If the “explanation” offered is correct, then this scripture should imply that the training was to end in Nebuchadnezzar's third year (if counted in the manner of a Jewish king) – but it doesn't. All translations are quite clear. When something happens “at the end” of three years, that is three years later. It's really simple.
As we mentioned in the main article, Daniel uses the word “‘lemiktzat’ for describing the end in time period of something. Interestingly, this word is derived from word ‘ketz’ which means end to something or someone. To claim that three years are not actually three years is like to claim ten days are not actually ten days.”
Furthermore, this explanation causes such weird inconsistency on Daniel's part. First Daniel uses the Babylonian method of counting years for the Jewish King, then four verses later the Jewish method for counting the years of the Babylonian King, then reverts back to the Babylonian method again a few verses after that for counting the years of Neb once more.
|Daniel 1:1, “in the third year of Jehoiakim”||Babylonian method of counting years – ascension months not counted|
|Daniel 1:5 “end of “ three years||Jewish method of counting years – ascension months are counted as a year|
|Daniel 2:1, “in the second year of Neb”||Babylonian method – ascension months not counted|
Why such inconsistency? Because it's the only way 587-promoters can cling on to their theories. In other words, they want to treat Daniel's training as if it were a king's reign! And they want to count his “accession year” in training, as one year. Who ever heard of such a thing? However, they do not want to count Neb's accession year as one year, and they do not want to count Jehoiakim's accession year as one year. That is the only way their dates fit. Yet the 607 interpretation does not have this inconsistency.
That's not the only inconsistency they create in the book of Daniel. When Daniel 10:1 says in the “third year of Cyrus the king of Persia”, 587-promoters revert back to the 607 method of dating. See the chart below:
|Scripture||587 interpretation||607 interpretation|
|Daniel 1:1 – “the third year of the kingship of Jehoiakim the king of Judah”||Jehoiakim's Kingship of Judah||Babylonian Kingship over Jews|
|Daniel 2:1 – “the second year of the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar”||Neb's Kingship of Babylon||Babylonian Kingship over Jews|
|Daniel 10:1 – “third year of Cyrus the king of Persia”||Babylonian/Persian Kingship over Jews||Babylonian/Persian Kingship over Jews|
In other words, they want to count Jehoiakim's kingship from the start of his reign, and the same with Nebuchadnezzar, but they do not want to do the same with Cyrus.
By placing the events of Daniel 10 in the “third year of Cyrus the king of Persia”, Daniel demonstrates that all of his time keeping must refer to the Babylonian Kingship over the Jews. Otherwise, if 587-promoters were consistent in their methods of counting, they would have to insist that Daniel was actually serving under the King of Persia many years earlier during the third year of Cyrus. Obviously that is impossible. So the only way for them to avoid this problem is to make Daniel's methods of dating inconsistent – a second time.
If the 587-promoters abandon this theory, and go back to saying Daniel interpreted the dream during his 2nd year of training – before the three full years ended, they simply swap one set of inconsistencies for another. As covered in the main article, that theory makes the story appear silly, and breaks the chronology of the narrative. So if you are a 587 promoter, you have a choice – either defend one set of inconsistencies, or defend another set instead. It's just a matter of deciding which is your personal favorite. Promoters of 607, on the other hand, have no such headaches because that interpretation is consistent throughout the book of Daniel.
This is often the case with the “explanations” of how 587 supposedly fits with the Bible. When the inevitable fatal problems are pointed out, defenders of 587 conjure up ever more lengthy and complicated “explanations”, to patch-up the problems caused by the last set of “explanations”. Which is followed by explanations of the explanations. What one eventually has is a great patchwork of interpretation and explanation many pages long. No doubt at this moment someone, somewhere, is cooking up more lengthy, complex and highly strained patchwork to “explain” the problems with their theory that we've pointed out here.
However, the simple 607 chronology keeps both Daniel's dating methods and the narrative consistent throughout the book. We don't need to explain away any inconsistency – because there is none. All we need to explain is that Daniel uses the same method of counting years throughout his book – that of Babylonian Kingship over the Jews. Just as he does the same thing with the Persian Kingship over the Jews in Daniel 10. This 607-based interpretation also harmonizes with dates of the first exile given in other Bible books such as Jeremiah, which in turn harmonizes with the prophecies of the 70 years for Jerusalem, Tyre, and the 40 for Egypt. The 587 interpretation on the other hand, is disharmonious with all of this.
There is another place where the Bible counts the years of a King as starting from the beginning of their vassal Kingship.
King Pekah of Israel reigned 20 years before he died. Three years before his death, in his 17th year, the neighboring nation of Judah gained a new King, Ahaz. Logically, therefore, when Pekah of Israel died after his 20 years of service, his successor must have been crowned during the 4th year of neighboring Ahaz, right?
This is correct. Israel’s next King was enthroned in the 4th year of Judah’s Ahaz. The new King’s name was Hoshea. It describes how he ascended the throne, he “formed a conspiracy against Pekah ... and struck him and put him to death; and he [Hoshea] began to reign in place of him.” –2 Kings 15:30
Yet, there is something wrong. The next chapter of the book gives a different date for the start of Hoshea’s reign – in 2 Kings 17:1 it doesn’t say he came to the throne after killing Pekah during the 4th year of Ahaz, but during the 12th year of Ahaz! “In the twelfth year of Ahaz the king of Judah” Hoshea “became king in Samaria over Israel”. Is this a contradiction?
The answer is simple. 2 Kings 17:3 answers, “It was against him [Hoshea] that Shalmaneser the king of Assyria came up, and Hoshea came to be his servant and began to pay tribute to him.”
Yes, when 2 Kings 17:1 says “In the twelfth year of Ahaz the king of Judah” that Hoshea “became king in Samaria over Israel”, it is counting from the start of Hoshea’s vassal Kingship to Assyria – not from the time several years earlier when he “formed a conspiracy against Pekah ... and struck him and put him to death; and he began to reign in place of him.”
So here we have another example of the dates of a King's reign starting from the beginning of their vassal Kingship, with years prior to it being left out. This is similar to how Daniel counted the years of Jehoiakim in Daniel 1:1.
628 King Jehoiakim begins his 11-year rule in Jerusalem.
625 Nebuchadnezzar begins his Babylonian rule.
624 Jeremiah warns that Babylon will come up against Jerusalem.
620 Jehoiakim becomes vassal King to Babylon.
618 (December) Jehoiakim rebels, Nebuchadnezzar lays siege, kills King. Nebuchadnezzar takes exiles including Daniel and Ezekiel, some temple treasures, and temple utensils. Jehoiachin placed on throne.
617 (March) Nebuchadnezzar returns, takes Jehoiachin exile, all temple treasures and gold temple utensils taken. Zedekiah's 11-year rule in Jerusalem as Babylonian vassal King begins.
614 Daniel's 3-year training ends.
609 Zedekiah rebels.
607 (August) Jerusalem destroyed, temple burned. This is the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, the 11th year of Zedekiah. Ezekiel makes the final prophecy against Tyre.
607 (October) Last Jews in land flee to Egypt. Land now totally uninhabited. 70-year period begins. The “seven times” begin — Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until he who has the legal right arrives.
606 Tyre sieged by Nebuchadnezzar. 70-year period for Tyre begins.
605 Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream in his 2nd year since destroying Jerusalem and becoming direct King of the Jews.
590 Ezekiel makes last prophecy against Egypt in 27th year of his exile. Also states that siege of Tyre is completed, which lasted 13 years according to Josephus. It began 16 years earlier.
588 Egypt desolated by Nebuchadnezzar in his 37th year. 40 year period begins.
548 Egypt's 40 year period ends.
547 Egyptian King Amasis II forges alliance with last Babylonian King, Nabonidus.
539 Cyrus conquers Babylon, Darius the Great becomes King.
538 Cyrus makes decree for Jews to return home
537 (October) Jews repatriated in cities, back in land after exactly 70 years of vacancy. Desolation ends.
536 Tyre supplies timber for the rebuilding of the temple. Its 70 year period ends.
535 Daniel has his final recorded vision.
455 The word goes forth to rebuild Jerusalem. 70-week prophecy begins.
29 CE Jesus baptized, becomes Messiah.
33 CE Jesus executed.
36 CE Gentiles receive holy spirit, 70-week prophecy ends.
1914 CE The “seven times”, lasting 2,520 years, ends. He who has the legal right to the throne of David, Jesus, is crowned as King in Heaven. The “last days” begin.