WATCHTOWER - JANUARY 1, 1996
Page 8: In 607 BCE, Babylonian armies tore down the walls of Jerusalem and burned Jehovah's temple.
Correction: In 588 BC Zedekiah led a revolt against Chaldea, and two years later (586 BC) Nebuchadnezzar's army destroyed Judah and razed Jerusalem. Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia, Volume 15, page 57.
Amplification: As discussed in a previous chapter, the research I had to do in connection with the book "Aid to Bible Understanding" brought home to me that the Society's date of 607 BCE for Jerusalem's destruction by Babylon was contradicted by all known historical evidence. Still, I continued to put trust in that date in spite of the evidence, feeling that it had Scriptural backing. Without 607 BCE the crucial date of 1914 would be placed in question. I took the view that the historical evidence was likely defective and argued that way in the Aid book. Crisis Of Conscience, Raymond Franz, page 140.
Page 9: By the latter part of 537 BCE, a group of Israelites celebrated the Festival of Booths on the soil of Israel for the first time in 70 years!
Correction: The 70 years refers to the exile, spiritual apathy and rebuilding of the temple.
The country was still lying waste from the havoc of the Chaldean wars, and the emigrants despaired at the enormous task confronting them. The resulting apathy of the returned Jews was alleviated by the work of two religious leaders, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who held out the rewards of spiritual life as the ultimate goal. The Jews turned their attention to rebuilding, and in 516 BC the Second Temple was completed. The latter date is regarded, in the Jewish tradition, as the true end of the exile in Babylon, which thus endured 70 years (586-516 BC). Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia, Volume 15, page 58.
Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:5-7
And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house (temple) at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? May his God be with him! Now let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. Ezra 1:2-3
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