John's Two Witnesses...Who Are/Were They?

by Cold Steel 17 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • deegee

    Having difficulties posting. Not all of the info is showing, the end of sentences appear to be cut off.

  • deegee

    Having difficulties posting. Not all of the info is showing, the end of sentences appear to be cut off.

  • deegee

    Cold Steel,

    Hope you can read this as I have been having difficulties posting - the damn holy spirit is messing up my posts!

    For a Bible prophecy to be valid, the prophecy must be clear and unambiguous. It must not allow for a multitude of possible events. For example, Ezekiel 39 fails this test. It makes a prediction involving two military powers: Gog and Magog. "Gog has been interpreted as Gyges, king of Lydia, the Goths, and even a modern or future leader of Russia. Magaog has been interpreted as the Scythains, the Chaldeans, the Huns and modern-day Russia among others." Almost any military conflict in history could be cited as a fulfillment of this prophecy.


    [[[1.]]] According to Ezekiel chapter 4, Ezekiel engages in various dramatic signs — prophetic signs or actions — to convey his message. He binds himself in ropes; he lies on his left side 390 days to symbolize the 390 years of exile of Israel, and then he lies on his right side for 40 days to symbolize the length of Judah's captivity, which he says will be 40 years.


    The northern kingdom of Israel was NEVER restored 390 years after it fell to the Assyrians in 722BCE - 390 years hence would be 332BCE.

    40 years from 586/587BCE when the temple in Jerusalem fell and a second deportation of Jewish exiles occurred would be 546/547BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah was NOT restored in 546/547BCE.

    Or if the first deportation of exiles in 597BCE is used instead, 40 years hence would be 557 BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah was NOT restored in 557 BCE.

    Ezekiel's restoration prophecy is a FAILED prophecy.

    [[[2.]]] Ezekiel’s prediction made sometime between 592-570 BCE that the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre would be utterly destroyed and never be rebuilt, however, Tyre was not permanently destroyed:

    [[[3.]]] Ezekiel was also wrong about Egypt. In 568 B.C.E. Nebuchadrezzar attacked Egypt but was repulsed by Pharaoh Amasis II under whose rule Egypt continued to prosper. History has no record of there being no "government or system" in Egypt at that time. History has no record of Egypt ever suffering as Ezekiel prophesized.

    [[[4.]]] "And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight." (Ezek. 4:12)

    According to “the LORD”, the whole point of this filthy exercise was to demonstrate how the Israelites would eat “defiled bread amongst the Gentiles, wither I will drive them.” But Ezekiel was already amongst the captive Israelites in Gentile land (Ezek. 1:1). So, was Ezekiel just demonstrating what was already happening? If so, how was this a “prophecy”?

    _ _ _ _

    ALSO, any present day inerrantist would affirm with his dying breath that the book of Ezekiel was unquestionably inspired of God, yet the rabbis who made the canonical selection were of a different mind. A bitter controversy surrounded this book before it was finally selected for inclusion in the Hebrew canon.

    The rabbis were bothered by chapters 40-48, which contained information that was difficult to reconcile with the Torah. Ezekiel 46:6 is just one example of the problems the rabbis had to deal with in these chapters. Here Ezekiel said that the sacrifice for the new moon should consist of "a [one] young bullock without blemish, six lambs, and a ram," but the instructions for this same sacrificial ceremony in Numbers 28:11 stipulated two young bullocks, seven lambs, and a ram."

    The discrepancy or, if you please, lack of "internal harmony" is readily apparent to anyone who wants to see it.

    At least it was apparent to the rabbis who had to decide whether the book should be considered canonical. According to Hebrew tradition, Rabbi Haniniah ben Hezekiah retired to a room with 300 "measures of oil" and worked day and night until he arrived at explanations that would "dispose of the discrepancies" (The Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 1, Cambridge University press, 1970, p. 134). One wonders why such an undertaking as this was necessary to decide the canonicity of a book that exhibits "unequaled internal harmony."

    Could it be that Rabbi Haniniah ben Hezekiah was merely the Bible inerrantist of his day, who rather than accepting the face value of what was written spent several days searching for innovative interpretations that would make doctrinally embarrassing passages not mean what they obviously were intended to mean?

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    Many times prophecy requires an acute knowledge of history. Theologians have already addressed those prophecies, showing that the fulfillments were literal and applicable to history. One notes concerning the 390 days/years:

    Notice the 390 days represent 390 years. God himself says this clearly in Ezekiel 4:6. Careful study of the years following Jeroboam's rebellion indicate just 390 years until the last king of Judah is dethroned. At the same time as the kings of Judah are permanently "defrocked," the temple and city of Jerusalem is destroyed. This was accomplished in the 18th year of captivity under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon who besieged Jerusalem for 18 months before it succumbed. At this point, the first part of Ezekiel's prophecy is fulfilled.

    Some will ask what Judah's kings have to do with the sin of Israel. First, Judah (which included the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin), represented the kingdom of Israel which God had set up. Judah maintained those kings of David's lineage, with the authority of the throne that had been established by God Himself. Judah also encompassed Jerusalem, the city God had chosen to place His name there-meaning the temple. All of Israel, not just Judah, should have worshiped God in that temple. Second, the kings of the ten tribes of Israel, referred to simply as "Israel" in this prophecy, had rebelled against Judah, against the temple, and thus against God. All of those kings, God says, were evil. Although the kings' power was forcibly removed well before the 390 years had been completed, the people of the ten tribes still followed in the Godless practices to which those kings had led them in the centuries prior. They never returned to the temple services as a people throughout the 390 years of their probation.

    Judah and Benjamin, which should have done more to bring their brethren back to worship in the temple, had instead also succumbed to pagan practices and some of Judah's kings had led Judah away from God as well. As a result, Judah would suffer the same fate as did Israel. (Understanding Ezekiel's Prophecies)

    So much of Israel's worship centered in temple worship. Methodist scholar Margaret Barker is a recognized as an authority on temple, and I'd recommend her books and YouTube videos.

    Regarding the city of Tyre, another commentator writes:

    After a closer look at the text, however, such an interpretation is misguided. Ezekiel began his prophecy by stating that “many nations” would come against Tyre (26:3). Then he proceeded to name Nebuchadnezzar, and stated that “he” would build a siege mound, “he” would slay with the sword, and “he” would do numerous other things (26:7-11). However, in 26:12, the pronoun shifts from the singular “he” to the plural “they.” It is in verse 12 and following that Ezekiel predicts that “they” will lay the stones and building material of Tyre in the “midst of the waters.” The shift in pronouns is of vast significance, since it shifts the subject of the action from Nebuchadnezzar (he) back to the many nations (they). Till and others fail to see this shift and mistakenly apply the utter destruction of Tyre to the efforts of Nebuchadnezzar.

    Furthermore, Ezekiel was well aware of Nebuchadnezzar’s failure to destroy the city. Sixteen years after his initial prediction, in the 27th year of Johoiachin’s captivity (circa 570 B.C.), he wrote: “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it” (29:18). Therefore, in regard to the prophecy of Tyre as it relates to Nebuchadnezzar’s activity, at least two of the elements were fulfilled (i.e., the siege mound and the slaying of the inhabitants in the field).

    Regarding the prediction that “many nations” would come against Tyre, the historical records surrounding the illustrious city report such turmoil and war that Ezekiel’s prophecy looks like a mild understatement of the facts. After Nebuchadnezzar’s attack of the city “a period of great depression” plagued the city which was assimilated into the Persian Empire around 538 B.C. (Fleming, p. 47). In 392 B.C., “Tyre was involved in the war which arose between the Persians and Evagorus of Cyprus” in which the king of Egypt “took Tyre by assault” (p. 52). Sixty years later, in 332, Alexander the Great besieged Tyre and crushed it (see below for further elaboration). Soon after this defeat, Ptolemy of Egypt conquered and subjugated Tyre until about 315 B.C. when Atigonus of Syria besieged Tyre for 15 months and captured it (Fleming, p. 65). In fact, Tyre was contested by so many foreign forces that Fleming wrote: “It seemed ever the fate of the Phoenician cities to be between an upper and a nether millstone” (p. 66). Babylon, Syria, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Armenia, and Persia are but a sampling of the “many nations” that had a part in the ultimate destruction of Tyre. Thus, Ezekiel’s prophecy about “many nations” remains as a historical reality that cannot be successfully gainsaid. (Ezekiel's Prophecy On Tyre)

  • deegee

    Cold Steel,

    If you were to actually read the links which I provided above you will note that all of your points regarding the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecies against Tyre and Egypt have been successfully rebutted.

    I also note that you did not comment on the other points regarding Ezekiel which I raised above.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    @deegee: It's called cognitive dissonance, you cannot argue with these nut cases because they will only attempt to partially rebut your argument while ignoring the vast content of it.

    If anyone wants to believe in prophecy, especially biblical, first prove that it was written BEFORE the event happened, make sure that the text cannot be misinterpreted and then that those events unequivocally happened as described.

    If you cannot apply the above rigor, then it's not a true prophecy. We now know David and Solomon never existed the way they described, only been written in biblical texts much later, same for Jesus. Ezekiel was written... in 597-571BC in exile with the majority of the text we canonically accept as Ezekiel evidenced as being rewritten up to ~200BC. The Greek translation in fact has a great deal of text that simply isn't there in the Hebrew texts. So take the entire book with a big grain of salt.

  • EverApostate

    CS - I haven't read all of your posts but on the outset I feel you belong to some sect of Christianity. Had you been a JW before ? How come you are still so zealous in your beliefs ? Just curious.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    I've never been a JW, but I have family who are. They stopped talking to us years ago and I first came here to find out why. Since then, I've studied many of their doctrines and, of course, I don't abide by them.

    To refute the above arguments, I would have to go back and study them and just don't have the time. I am fairly well read on Greek and Roman history and I know that Alexander built a causeway to the island portion of Tyre and he did a fairly good job of decimating the city during his campaign. (The causeway is still there.) The debate is between those who believe in biblical prophecy and those who don't, and those involved in apologetics defend Ezekiel's prophecies while those who don't believe the prophecies try to show they were not fulfilled.

    If Ezekiel's prophecies are, on their face, false, one wonders why the Jews view Ezekiel as one of their greatest prophets. Ezekiel is known for many prophecies that came to pass. Since Tyre is considered his greatest bust, I decided to address that one. One apologist, G. Smith, dissected the Tyrian prophecy and came up with what I think is a reasonable response. See his articles, PART 2 and PART 3. Tyre was once a great, magnificent Phonetician city which existed both in the mainland and on an island. Ezekiel was correct that there were many nations that came against it from Babylon to the Medes and Persians to the Greeks and others. Ezekiel said it would be a place where fishermen would spread their nets, meaning it would be a fishing community. But it also was a site for those who wished to see the ruins of its buildings and walls. To say no one would live on the island portion is a stretch.

    DeeGee posted a number of pages, the stated purpose of which was to discredit the Bible. In just one example, author Ferrell Till stated, "The next verse says that no human foot or animal foot would pass through it for 40 years." So we go to the scripture he cites and it states, "I will make the land of Egypt a desolation among desolated countries; and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries." (Ezekiel 29:12) By attempting to force a strained interpretation on the scriptures, where "desolation" means "no human foot or animal foot would pass through it," one can prove whatever one wishes. Bible commentator John Gill addresses this chapter and comes to the alternate conclusion that, "The utter destruction of which, with the rest of Egypt prophesied of, appears to have been fulfilled." It all depends on what one hopes to prove. But answering Till point to point would be time consuming and futile. Again, one doubts the Jews would count an obviously false prophet as one of their greats.

    My belief as a Christian is that the Bible is NOT without error. Obviously Nebonidus was the king who went mad for seven years because he left a record of it. But the Bible erroneously states it was Nebuchadnezzar. The fact that Nebonidus went mad in fulfillment of the Lord's dictum shows that the prophecy was good even if the transcription was not. Also, Belshazzar was the son of Nebonidus, not Nebuchadnezzar, and he was never king. But the story of Daniel's interpretation of the writing on the wall was nevertheless correct, even if Jewish scribes decided to insert the more famous names into Daniel's narrative.

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