Tower Craft: Holes in the 1914 Theory

The What Does the Bible Really Teach? book has a section on chronology, showing how JWs arrived at 1914 as “a significant year in Bible prophecy” (pp. 215-217). Again, we are confronted with the absurd “Bible fishing” tactics and claptrap logic which Watchtower leadership have mastered. Here is my rebuttal.

Decades in advance, Bible students proclaimed that there would be significant developments in 1917. What were these, and what evidence points to 1914 as such as important year

The Watchtower didn’t inform their readers that for decades before and after 1914, these same “Bible students” have also pointed at other years as significant. All the “evidence” modern JWs try to read into 1914 are events that have occurred all through history. If these Bible students and their theories could be so obviously flawed historically, their chronology couldn’t be reliable either.

As recorded at Luke 21:24, Jesus said: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations [“the times of the Gentiles,” King James Version] are fulfilled.”

Here, Jesus was referring to a time in the future when the trampling of Jerusalem by the Gentile nations will end. The Greek word for “fulfil” is plero which means to expire or to end. This period is also called “the fullness of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:25) (Though the passage suggests that Jerusalem will be free from Gentile oppression from a while until the Tribulation period).

The nation of Israel, however, has been trampled on by Gentile nations starting with Egypt from which God delivered her. The book of Judges alone details how Israel was oppressed by Mesopotamia, Canaan, Midian, Philistines and the Ammonites when they forsook God. After they divided into kingdoms, they were trampled on by Assyria which captured the kingdom of Israel before Babylon captured the kingdom of Judah.

Even at the time of Christ, Jerusalem was still under the rule of the Romans and today, much of it is occupied by the Arabs. This should be pointed out because as we proceed, you will see how the Watchtower grossly backdates the prophecy of Jesus.

Jerusalem had been the capital city of the Jewish nation – the seat of rulership of the line of kings from the house of King David. (Psalm 48:1, 2) However, these kings were unique among national leaders. They sat on “Jehovah’s throne” as representatives of God himself. (1 Chronicles 29:23) Jerusalem was thus a symbol of Jehovah’s rulership

This seat of rulership of kings from the house of David is an earthly rule from Jerusalem. First Chronicles 29:22, informs us that king Solomon was anointed “unto the LORD.” Jesus as the Messiah came from this Davidic lineage, so we can see why its called God’s throne. Until the day JWs agree that Jesus is Jehovah, this argument is fatal to their cause.

How and when, though, did God’s rulership begin to be “trampled on by the nations”? This happened in 607 B.C.E. when Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians. “Jehovah’s throne” became vacant, and the line of kings who descended from David was interrupted.

Oh dear, what a tortured path. How can a statement Jesus made in the book of Luke about a future event be referring to an event that had occurred centuries before Christ? Jesus was speaking of the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles, not God’s rulership.

What year was Jerusalem (capital of the kingdom of Judah) conquered by the Babylonians? The Jewish Encyclopedia records that it’s 586 BC. The Encyclopedia Britannica says the “kingdom of Judah flourished until 587 BC when it was overrun by the Babylonians.” The Encyclopedia Americana says the kingdom of Judah “finally fell due to the capture of Jerusalem in 587 BC.” Why does the Watchtower, in defiance of secular history claim Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BC?

JWs claim to follow the Bible which says the Jews would go on exile for 70 years (Jer. 20:10) and since Cyrus gave his edict for them to return to Jerusalem in 537 BC, they did a straight calculation: 537+ 70 years = 607 BC. One of them wrote: “Jehovah Witnesses have decided that the date of the desolation of Jerusalem must have been 607 B.C.” because the “organization, as a whole, over a long term has the guidance of Holy Spirit.”

This excuse is typical of cults. They appeal to history only when its convenient. They make exceptions for themselves from the rules that govern others. The World Book Encyclopedia says “The exile in Babylon occurred in three waves from 597 to 581 B.C.E. as a result of Judean rebellion against Babylonian rule.” That is, before Jersualem was finally destroyed in 587, many Jews had already been captured on exile to Babylon.

In 2 Kings 25:12-16 Jehoachin, the king of Judah was captured by Nebuchadnezzar. This happened in 597 BC. This gives a gap of 60 years between 597 BC and 537 BC. Daniel indicated that they had been captured before Jehoachin (Dan. 1:1-3, 6). Jewish historian, Josephus agrees, that Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians in 605 BC and sent captives from the Jews, Phoenician, Syrians and Egyptians to Babylon (Antiquities 10.11.1).

Additionally, the Jews counted their calendar according to the sabbath years and they must have stopped counting the 70 years at the feast of Tabernacles (Ezr. 3:4). The Babylonian captivity of the Jews must have started around 604 BC while their nation, Jerusalem was finally conquered in 587 BC.

…Ezekiel said regarding Jerusalem’s last king, Zedekiah: “Remove the turban and lift off the crown. … It will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has legal right, and I must give it to him.” (Ezekiel 21:26, 27) The one who has “the legal right” to the Davidic crown is Christ Jesus. (Luke 1:32) So the ‘trampling’ would end when Jesus became King

God debased Zedekiah by removing his crown and decreed that the kingdom of Judah was to be overthrown and exist no more until the Messiah would come whose right it is; and it would be given Him (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 9:6-7, 42:1). The trampling of the Gentiles over Jerusalem would end at Jesus’ second advent when He will reign as King from Jerusalem.

[Nebuchadnezzar] saw an immense tree that was chopped down. Its stump could not grow because it was banded with iron and copper. An angel declared: “Let seven times pass over it.” – Daniel 4:10-16. In the Bible, trees are sometimes used to represent rulership … So the chopping down of the symbolic tree represents how God’s rulership, as expressed through the kings at Jerusalem, would be interrupted.

It’s mystifying how the Watchtower writer managed to put this art work together. This is a skill an interior decorator needs. The “chopping down” and “seven times” refer to the 7 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness not to trampling by Gentile nations. How did a dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity relate to “God’s rulership”? Or how did a Bible passage about a king of Babylon become that of the kings of Jerusalem?

However, the vision served notice that this ‘trampling of Jerusalem’ would be temporary – a period of “seven times.” How long a period is that? Revelation 12:6, 14 indicates that three and half times equal “a thousand two hundred and sixty days.” “Seven times” would therefore last twice as long, or 2,520 days.

That vision neither refers to trampling nor Jerusalem. If “seven times” means 2,520 days in one passage, it must also mean it in all passages unless otherwise stated. Using this Watchtower standard, Jacob bowed down to Esau for 2,520 days (Gen. 33:3), the Jews sprinkled blood on their sacrifices for 2,520 days during each day (Lev. 4:6), Israel marched around Jericho 2,520 days on the 7th day (Jos. 6:4), Elijah’s servants looked for rain for 2,520 days (1 Kgs. 18:43) and the resurrected child sneezed for 2,520 days (2 Kgs. 4:35). Do these statements make sense?

On the basis of Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, which speaks of “a day for a year,” the “seven times” would cover 2,520 years

Whether by hook or by crook, the Watchtower is bent on latching on to 1914. No one has the authority to change a day to a year in any Bible passage he pleases. If God, who knows the difference between a day and year, said “days” in a certain scripture He meant days, and if he said “years” He meant years. Just because He commanded Israel to wander in the wilderness for 40 years according to the number of days the spies were in Canaan and appointed years according to the same number of days in Ezekiel’s case doesn’t give anyone the right to conclude that the word days means years in every place in prophecy.

The 2,520 years began in October 607 B.C.E., when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians and the Davidic king was taken off his throne. Ther period ended in October 1914. At that time … Jesus Christ was installed as God’s heavenly king.”

This is a sandcastle. The Watchtower Society has invested too much in 1914 to give it up, so they disregard Biblical exegesis or history to build their raft. How did the earthly Davidic throne of Christ become a heavenly one? When did God transport Jerusalem up into heaven? Every honest JW must reject the uninspired teachings of the Watchtower and hold to the plain teaching of inspired Scripture.

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Sharia: The Path of Doom (I)

On July 27, 2016, a gang of Muslim men stormed into a German swimming pool yelling “Allahu Akbar!” They warned a group of nudist swimmers, whom they called “infidels” and “sluts” that they would be “exterminated.” In France, a woman and her 3 daughters were stabbed by a Muslim man who was offended because they were “scantily dressed.” In Sweden, Muslims have placed up street posts saying “Women who don’t wear a headscarf are asking to be raped” and “No democracy. We just want Islam.”

In Manchester, leaflets were posted in people’s letterboxes warning them against walking their dogs in public, in order to keep the area “pure” for Muslims. “Those who live in the UK must learn to understand and respect the legacy and lifestyle of the Muslims who live alongside them” says the leaflets.

To an informed observer, these are cries of an ideological war brewing in the West. It’s a clash between Western civilization and Arabian barbarity; between a mentality that belongs to the Iron Age and a mentality that belongs to the 21st century. Some countries have walked this path.

In 1989, key Muslim leaders from all over Africa gathered in Nigeria. They founded the Islam in Africa Organization (IA0) and made Nigeria its headquarters. The members concluded: “We are ready to go any length to get Sharia established in this country whether we are alive or dead.” That was a declaration of war. Today, out of 36 states in Nigeria, Sharia laws are fully operational in 12. It took Muslims only 11 years to achieve their agenda. In the battle of mindsets, knowledge gaps must be filled with sufficient information.

In the Islamic worldview, there is no king but Allah, and he alone is to be the supreme ruler and legislator of the world. No earthly ruler has sufficient authority to legislate any law. Since Allah’s final laws have purportedly been given to Muhammad in the 7th century, they must be followed to the core. Allah has sent Muhammad with Islam to dominate all other religions even though the infidels detest it, therefore, every Muslim must overthrow democracy (and other ideologies) and enforce Sharia on the whole world under an Islamic caliphate.

A 2008 YouGov survey in the UK found that 40% of Muslim students want Sharia infused with British law. A 2013 Pew Forum random survey of 38,000 Muslims from 39 countries also revealed that most Muslims favour Sharia and want it imposed on Muslims as well. Contrary to the rehearsed speeches of Muslim leaders, Sharia is not compatible with democracy.

Islam basically rejects the tenets of democracy, and this explains why Muslim leaders oppose the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which they insist is unislamic. In contention, they met at Cairo in 1990 at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to adopt the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, prohibiting freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of association, equality in rights and equal protection under the law.

Now, if Allah is the king over islamic regions where people can’t exercise their God-given freedom of conscience or speech, openly declare Jesus as Lord and where human lives are cheap and savagery prevails, then we need to critically examine his dogmas and decide whether he should rule our land or not. We need to judge Allah’s constitution with Scripture, history and reason to conclude if they are divine and relevant or backward and draconian.

Sharia (“pathway”) is the religious legal system aimed at governing Muslims in the area of politics, marriage, economy, crime, military, gender roles and religious rites. It is primarily derived from the Quran and hadiths; making some practices obligatory, permitted and some forbidden. As Islam moved beyond the borders of Arabia it assimilated some laws from Persia, India and Rome, thus, divergent views of how Sharia is to be interpreted developed (fiqh).

These schools rely on statements agreed on by all Muslims (Ijma), analogies from the Quran or sunna (Qiyas) and rulings of Islamic jurists (Istihsan) in following Sharia. These schools are considered orthodox despite their different rulings. They are: Hanafi (common in Egypt and Turkey), Maliki (West and North Africa), Shafi (East Africa, Indonesia), Jafari (Iran, Iraq, Lebanon) and Hanbali (Saudi Arabia).

We need to ask, which nation has ever adhered to Sharia law perfectly? Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? Iraq? Iran? or Egypt? This is crucial, because if Sharia is a divine law meant for the whole world, there should be at least, a single nation that has followed it ideally to show us its measurable contributions towards human civilization. Is Saudi Arabia – a country stuck in a backwater, plagued by racism, sexism and gross injustice – a template of an ideal Sharia? Many Muslims would disagree. They suggest that Saudi Arabia’s monarchical rule negates Islamic theocracy, and that no nation of the world currently practices Islam up to Allah’s standards.

If no nation in the last 14 centuries has exhibited the “perfect Islam,” then it’s time Muslims gave up this pipe dream. Here are some examples of Sharia laws betraying a deeply flawed Islam.

1. Flogging Drunkards and Gamblers

The Quran’s stance on alcoholism and gambling oscillates from tepid approval to condemnation.

“They ask you [Muhammad] about intoxicants and gambling: say, ‘There is great sin in both, and some benefit for people: the sin is greater than the benefit…” (Q 2:219)

Later, it says: “You who believe, do not come anywhere near the prayer if you are intoxicated, until you know what you are saying…” (Q4:43) Quranic commentator, Abul A’La Maududi said Muhammad “changed the timings of their drinking so as not to clash with the timings of their prayers” (The Meaning of the Qur’an, 1:337). So, Muslims could take alcohol in between their prayers or afterward.

But in Sura 5:90-91, Allah finally said: “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handwork; eschew such (abominations), that ye may prosper. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer…”

The English translator inserted the words in brackets because he realises this verse also grates against the black stone Muslims worship. The hadiths record the penalties levied on drunks and gamblers.

When a drunk was dragged before Muhammad in anger, he “ordered all those who were present in the house to beat him” (Bukhari 8:6775). Muhammad and his successor, Abu Bakr, gave drunks 42 stripes. But when Umar assumed the responsibilities as the Caliphate, he consulted people and Abd al-Rahman said: “the mildest punishment (for drinking) is eighty (stripes) and Umar prescribed this punishment” (Muslim, 4226).

Muhammad is even quoted as saying “flog them, again if they drink wine, flog them. Again if they drink it, kill them” (Abu Dawud, 4467). But Muslim scholars say this hadith has been abrogated. The penalty for gambling is to “give something in charity (as an expiation of such a sin)” (Bukhari 8:6107). The Shafi Law code says: “If any person drinks wine or any other intoxicating thing, its hudd [fixed punishment] is forty stripes and it is lawful that by means of tazir or discretionary punishment to bring it up to 80 stripes” (p. 119).

This raises some questions. If wine is an abominable handwork of Satan on earth, why is it a reward in Allah’s paradise? And if Muslims had eschewed these vices as Allah commanded, why did Muhammad institute severe punishment for it? Here is a man who supposedly sliced the moon into two like water melon, unable to help his disciples overcome their sins? And how does whipping quench a person’s thirst for alcohol or gambling? Is this also a “scientific miracle?”

Indeed, these laws came from a person quite ignorant of human nature. Today, drunkenness and drug trafficking thrive in Islamic climes. Thousands of Muslims reportedly drive from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain every weekend to indulge themselves at the pubs. In contrast, the New Testament, instead of corporal punishments, invites sinners to an inner transformation to overcome their sins “As many as received [Jesus], to them he gave power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12).

2. Stoning and flogging the sexually immoral

“Strike the adulterer and adulteress one hundred times. Do not let compassion for them keep you from carrying out God’s law – if you believe in God and the Last Day – and ensure that a group of believers witness the punishment.” (Q 24:2)

This was recited when Aisha was accused of committing adultery with Safwan, whom Muhammad exonerated. The penalty for fornication is flogging and stoning for adultery. An accuser is mandated to present four male witnesses otherwise he is lashed 80 stripes (Q 24: 4). In a situation where a man cannot prove his wife’s adultery, he would follow the rule of Li’an by swearing 4 times and invoking Allah’s curse on himself or herself if he/she is lying. These are plainly retrogressive rules.

In the modern world, you don’t need 4 witnesses to prove a sexual crime, when there are audio, video and forensic evidence available. But these items would violate the sunna. Besides, fornication and adultery are often committed behind closed doors, so this law would rather cause many rape victims be stoned to death for immorality since they can’t provide 4 male witnesses.

In the hadith, after a woman confessed her adultery and subsequent pregnancy to Muhammad, she was first allowed to give birth. “Muhammad handed the child over to the community. And when he had given command over her and she was put up in a hole to her breast, he ordered the people to stone her. Khalid b. al-Walid came forward with a stone which he threw at her head, and when the blood spurted on his face, he cursed her…” (Muslim, 4206)

If there are no witnesses, the guilty is also punished if he confesses his sin 4 times. When a man came to Muhammad “and informed him that he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and he bore witness four times against himself. Allah’s Messenger ordered him to be stoned to death as he was a married person” (Bukhari 8:6814).

With such severe penalties awaiting fornicator or adulterers, many Muslims prefer to hide their sexual sins. Muhammad is even quoted as saying an immoral Muslim “should better remain hidden under the curtain of Allah but if he discloses it to us, we shall certainly enforce the law of Allah on him” (Maududi, 3:305). This betrays the myth that Islamic nations are more sexually chaste than Western nations. These vices also persist there, but they are mostly covered up under Allah’s broad curtain. Only few cases slither out to the media. Such a law that is counterproductive to genuine repentance is not divine.

The situational ethics Islam operates on is obvious. On one hand, it’s a crime to engage in “illegal” sexual intercourse, but at the same time it’s islamically “legal” to take non-Muslim ladies as sex slaves and engage in Mut’ah. Muhammad himself was a sexually immoral man who used his position to warm his bed. Besides, fornication and adultery (as well as drunkenness, gambling etc) are sins, not crimes. With the exceptions of sexual molestation and assault, sex between consenting adults are not crimes because they are not detrimental to another person’s well being.

In fact, we now know that sexual promiscuity can stem from childhood sexual abuse or spiritual problems. A divine law should provide a reasonable solution to sin and give the sinner a chance to live a new life. It seems Muhammad selectively incorporated some laws from the Torah, but even while the Torah lays down death penalty for adulterers, it is silent on the actual carrying out of the punishment.

Jesus didn’t stone the adulterous woman in John 8:10-11, showing us that physical punishment doesn’t take away sin. He fulfilled the Law by taking the penalty of our sins and through the Holy Spirit He resides in His people, enabling him to live a changed life. This is something Allah, Muhammad and his laws can never do.

Go to Part II