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“But we think it proper to hear from you what your thoughts are, for truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.”—Acts 28:22


Ezekiel 33:24, 27 refers to those in "devastated places." Is it true that these words were "written ten years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem," and does this indicate that "the devastations of Jerusalem" (Daniel 9:2) did not entail seventy years of complete desolation of the land, "without an inhabitant"?

At least one not-too-astute critic has stated that the words at Ezekiel 33:24, 27 were "written ten years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem," thus supporting his claim that Jerusalem was considered a devastated place at this time.

This claim is manifestly false. Going back only a few verses, Ezekiel 33:21 is clear as to what time period these words apply. He specifically refers to an "escaped one from Jerusalem" who notifies the exiles in Babylon that Jerusalem had been destroyed. For this reason, Jehovah could accurately refer to "the inhabitants of these devastated places." (See also Jeremiah 44:2, 6 which provides evidence that Judah "came to be a devastated place" only after its destruction, as related to those who fled to Egypt in 607 B.C.E.)

But does the phrase "inhabitants of . . . devastated places" imply that the "devastations of Jerusalem," referred to at Daniel 9:2, did not entail seventy years of complete desolation of the land, "without an inhabitant"?

No, for these very verses confirm that Jehovah's judgment against Judah was still in progress, and even those who tried to remain in the land (thinking it was an inheritance) would fall by the sword, thus fulfilling Jehovah's Word by Jeremiah that the land would lie desolate, "without an inhabitant" (see Jeremiah 9:11; 26:9; 32:43; 33:10-12; 34:22):

"And the word of Jehovah began to occur to me, saying: "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 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; and the one who is upon the surface of the field, to the wild beast I shall certainly give him for food; and those who are in the strong places and in the caves will die by the pestilence itself. And 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."'"—Ezekiel 33:23, 24, 27-29.

In fulfillment, 2 Kings 25:25, 26 reports that by the seventh month, "all the people, from small to great" fled to Egypt, leaving the land desolate, "without an inhabitant":

"And it came about in the seventh month . . . that all the people, from small to great, and the chiefs of the military forces rose up and came into Egypt; for they had become afraid because of the Chaldeans."

Thus, Jehovah's Witnesses recognize that the seventy years of the desolation of the land officially begun to be counted after the first of the seventh Jewish month in 607 B.C.E. (or September 21-22, 607 B.C.E. on the Gregorian calendar).


Next article: Critics allege that the New World Translation is biased in its translation of Jeremiah 29:10. Is this true?

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