John's Two Witnesses...Who Are/Were They?
Do the scripture writers at HQ allow for any scriptural exegesis that recognizes the state of Israel as fulfillment of ancient prophecy?
Isaiah, for example, writes:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11)
The Zionist movement began in the 1870s and is still going strong. The two prophets in Revelation 11 are specifically connected to the latter days in relation to the return of Jesus Christ and the city of Jerusalem:
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:7-8)
Does anyone have a Bible commentary they can check these scriptures in? I'd like to know how the WTBTS interprets these scriptures and whether "where or Lord was crucified" means Jerusalem? Who are the two prophets, and has this been prophecy been fulfilled? And, if so, when? I don't recall reading anything about modern-day Israel in their writings.
Russell was a Zionist. In modern times the WT have applied all references to Israel as applying to "spiritual Israel" = 144,000
yes, Cofty, for wt at one time it was an early version of the overlapping anointed, The older remnant and the newer remnant around a dubious date witnessing together, being persecuted together.
Cold Steel, you are preaching here to a bunch that has only smiles for any application of scripture. I am amazed your are treated with respect.
I don't think everyone who has abandoned the Watchtower Society has become atheistic (though I understand why those who do, do). If one wants to maintain a belief in Christ, one literally must start with a clean sheet of paper. Most Christians I've talked to lately are futurists--they believe prophecy spells out the restoration of the kingdom of Judah in preparation of the final assault on Jerusalem.
I believe the JWs buy into "replacement theology," in which theologians take prophecies regarding Israel and replace those prophecies with the church. Thus, they remove the references to Israel and Judah and replace those blessings and promises and apply them to the church. Charles T. Russell was apparently more fundamental, but Joseph Rutherford was strongly opposed to the literal exegesis.
The application of scripture in this case I think is pretty compelling, though. Prophecy states Judah will gather from the nations and it did come to pass. Self-fulfilling prophecy? I look at the 6-Day War and the other conflicts in which Israel was outgunned, outflanked and outmanned. In 1968, all the smart money was against the Jews. Yet the word of God was with Israel. "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." (Zechariah 12:2-3) And "it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all nations that come against Jerusalem." (Zechariah 12:9)
I'm old enough to remember the 6-Day War. And I recall that the U.S. fully expected Israel to be creamed. Only it didn't. In the greatest military upset in centuries, Israel turned defeat into victory. So there's plenty of room for Christians to believe in prophecy.
Christians who use ancient books to justify political decisions that lead to thousands of deaths are dangerous idiots.
Unless the ancient books are true.
Prophecy is one of those things in scripture that I believe is a hallmark of authenticity. In both Old and New Testaments the prophets said the Jews would be scattered to all the nations of the Earth.
They were scattered.
The prophets said that in the latter days, they would be gathered from the nations to which they’d been scattered.
They were gathered.
In the account of Armageddon, Ezekiel said that the warlord Gog would come upon Israel, “the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people” and “brought forth out of the nations.” And he said it would be in the “latter years” that this would happen. (38:8) The apostles taught that the Jews would be scattered because they had rejected their Messiah and killed him. Again, Ezekiel said Gog would come “as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days,” he tells us again. (38:16) The prophet also tells us the reason the Jews were scattered in the first place: “the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.” (39:23) And this is what happened at the hands of the Romans. “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.” (24)
But the Lord had promised Judah by the hand of his father Jacob that the scepter would not depart from his descendants until the coming of Shiloh, the Messiah. And the Jews were scattered at the time of Jesus, just as prophecy dictated. And, as Jacob prophesied, “unto him shall the gathering of his people be.” (Genesis 49:10)
In 1948 the nation of Israel was reestablished as per prophecy (Isaiah 11) and will remain again until the coming of Shiloh in the latter days. “After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.”
In those days, the Lord stated, “I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about…I [will] 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.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)
Not only is all the above finding fulfillment, the very nations that Ezekiel lists by their ancient names are all modern-day Islamic nations, nations that embrace a religion that has vowed to one day destroy Israel and the Jews, and make Israel an Islamic state.
The Jews won an incredible victory in June 1967 against Egypt. Six days later, Arab casualties were over 20,000. Israeli casualties were less than 1,000! In hindsight analysts say it was the element of surprise that caused the Arab defeat, but at the time, most said the Jews simply faced overwhelming odds—too overwhelming for them to succeed. And yet they did. Miraculously. The same can be said for the Israeli War of 1947. Israeli forces going in the wrong direction just happened to run into an Arab supply line and cut it off at the head. As one analyst put it, that war was “a big miracle composed of a series of little miracles.” As the Lord said some 2,500 years ago of Israel’s enemies: “Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isaiah 41:12-13)
Cold Steel, why would the ancient books be proven to be true by 'prophecy' that can be understood in so many ways, when the same scrolls, volumes, are full of scientific inaccuracies from the outset?
When the Bible is read properly, it is clear that all of the restoration prophecies written by Jeremiah, Ezekiel etc were written for an expected fulfillment during the time that the nation of Israel existed as a so-called theocracy. When these restoration prophecies went unfulfilled, instead of admitting this, Christianity has instead opted to project the fulfillment of these failed prophecies into the future, with every generation giving the failed restoration prophecies (starting with Daniel by the way) a contemporary reinterpretation.
The hallmark of a true prophecy is that it should not allow for a multitude of possible fulfillments in every generation, otherwise it is just a vague and ambiguous musing.
deegee: right, like the prediction tables of eclipses centuries in retrospect (fulfilled totalities) and into the future: Eastern North America, 2024, here we come.
Waton » Cold Steel, why would the ancient books be proven to be true by 'prophecy' that can be understood in so many ways, when the same scrolls, volumes, are full of scientific inaccuracies from the outset?
I've never argued that the scriptures were free from error. There are actually quite a few errors in transmission. But when the scriptures say that the Jews were going to be scattered, then gathered, that they would reject their Messiah (Isaiah 53) or that they would see the wounds in his hands (Zechariah 12), and that when these things were fulfilled, I believe they will stand as testimonies to both the heathen and the Jews that these things occurred.
Then to see the miraculous victories handed to the nation of Israel when everyone expected them to perish against overwhelming odds. I can remember the six-day war in 1967 and how everyone except the fundamentalist Christians believed Israel faced total defeat. My dad believed the prophecies, but even he, being a Navy aviator and military man, had doubts that Israel would survive. My mother had more faith that they would.
If prophecy is correct, you may yet live to see the Turkish Caliphate revived. Fifteen years ago, I sat with my wife's aunt in her kitchen with her Turkish friends. She told me that the military in Turkey was strong and it would never, ever, allow a religious government to get in. I said nothing, but afterwards told my wife that biblical prophecy was against what they'd told me. Now we're seeing what Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has done in office. If it continues to follow prophecy, the Turks will one day unite Islam in a jihad against Israel. Then Ezekiel 38-39 and Zechariah 12, 14 will be fulfilled.
If not, I'll be wrong.