As someone who believes in the literal interpretation of prophecy, especially in the Old Testament, I'm wondering how the Witnesses view Zachariah 12:
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
The first problem is how the Lord "formeth the spirit of man within him." Yes, I know that the Hebrew word for "spirit" can be "breath," but it also can be "spirit," and in this particular verse, all of the translations I checked use the term "spirit" in the same way.
The rest of the verses speak of Jerusalem being a cup of trembling unto all the people round about -- then it talks about the seige against Judah and Jerusalem. It will be a "burdensome stone" for all people -- "all that burden themselves withi it shall be cut in pieces."
To the majority of the Christian world, this has reference to Armegeddon. John speaks of the "beast" that would assault Jerusalem in the final days, and Ezekiel calls him "Gog," the chief prince of Magog.
Verses 8-10: In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Here it talks about the nations that come up against Jerusalem, and that the Lord would make them strong. He also says that "they shall look upon me whom they have pierced," an obvious reference to the Lord's crucifixion.
John, in Revelation, talks about two prophets who will be raised up -- and these will stand up against the Beast for three and a half years. Then they would be killed. After three days, they would both stand upon their feet and ascend into heaven to meet the coming Christ. But we'll stick with Zachariah, who says that God would bring all nations against Jerusalem:
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye [the Jews] shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
This is, for all intents and purposes, the Second Coming. It is Armegeddon. But the Witnesses see something entirely different in the battle of Armegeddon. Do they see themselves as the spiritual Jerusalem? What role do they see the Jews playing in the battle of Armegeddon and how do they interpret these scriptures?
Can someone clue me in?