Revelation 14:1 and the Problem of Literalness

Discussion in 'Bible Prophecy' started by Earthbound, Mar 9, 2016.

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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings Earthbound, and thank you for your commentary, I appreciate your concern for the process of communication through text. I share your caution and respect your address, for our complete purpose of this forum is to congregate together in fulfillment of our Lord's words and to encourage each other as we see the day drawing near. (Heb 10:25)

    This (what you just said) is my ultimate goal. I want to be the first to admit mistakes in understanding, for once it is discovered I am one step closer to the truth. There is no better feeling I have ever experienced in my life then those moments I've discovered I was wrong about something. Then to have that veil fall from your eyes is a gift from Jehovah, that I cannot overstate.

    So with that said, I look forward to those moments... :)

    I'm not sure we can apply the above to prophecy. His words above are meant for those who are fair, not as it pertains to signs in Rev, his words apply to how we treat each other. There are so many subjects in scripture, I don't see a reason to connect visual signs such as beasts and numbers just on the basis of an idea, each prophecy must stand on it's own.

    I would say just because beasts are metaphors, that doesn't mean numbers are. One could simply say (in the same tone) that if one number in Rev is literal, they all are. So technically I could use your same interpretation of Prov 11:1 to say that if one number in Rev is literal then all numbers must be.

    Let me give you an example. Rev 11:9; "And those of the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their corpses for three and a half days, and they do not allow their corpses to be laid in a tomb." This scripture is a literal three and a half days. We know this because their witnessing work lasts 1260 days, and these three and half days are said to come after those 1260 days are over. So with this one scripture we find that these three and a half days must be literal and therefore could stand as a precedence in your use of Prov 11, in that all numbers must be literal .

    The most important thing to keep in mind in scripture to me is a rule I always live by; Everything must be considered literal unless it can be proven metaphoric, while keeping in mind common sense. Of course real beasts will not come from the sea.

    [​IMG]

    But the approach is sound, and allows for a rule of thumb, because I haven't been let down when using this yard stick, scripture always directs us to another location within itself if using a metaphor.

    Again, as mentioned above, I don't believe your interpretation of Prov 11 stands the test, let me explain; If we could find just one sentence in Rev that wasn't a sign and was meant literal, then the entire construct comes down. The danger in believing everything is a metaphor opens endless interpretation without the need for prophecy to explain itself (as we see in the world).

    Now with that said, Jehovah's word is highly balanced (as you mentioned), and just saying one scripture is the rule for interpretation of prophecy falls short in establishing a rule for interpretation as a whole, as we see with any subject in scripture, no one sentence should determine doctrine. It is my opinion that we must approach prophecy in expecting everything we read as literal unless it can be established that said scripture is a metaphor by it's connection to another location. This approach has seemed to work well, for me at least...

    Chronology to me is the ultimate deciding factor as it pertains to what each event within the timeline represents, and what events are connected or not. It has been my experience that without knowing which event comes before or after another, one cannot establish what occurs within those events, nor the identity of the players, let alone if any events occur at the same moment, let me share an example as it pertains to our discussion.

    Let's talk about the resurrections, as it's commonly understood as two. Rev 20:6 "Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority,"

    Now obviously we want to remember every moment in scripture that will help us determine where in time these two events occur. The first that comes to mind to me is Dan 12:2 "And many of those asleep in the dust of the earth will wake up, some to everlasting life and others to reproach and to everlasting contempt." Now we know this resurrection comes just after Armageddon due to the scriptures just before; "And there will occur a time of distress such as has not occurred since there came to be a nation until that time. And during that time your people will escape," So therefore the first resurrection happens just after the "distress such has not occurred" and after that moment "your people will escape" hence the new world.

    (Now I'm going on the premise that we agree on there being a great tribulation just before Armageddon and that those on earth survive into a new world however, this is done to save time, nothing more. If you disagree with any particular let's back up and address that. :))

    Now let's readdress Dan 12:2 "And many of those asleep in the dust of the earth will wake up, some to everlasting life and others to reproach and to everlasting contempt." Here we read that "many" will wake up, it doesn't say all, so at this point we only know that some will. Then it goes on to say that some of those will be raised to everlasting life, and then others to everlasting cutting off. Now some on here try to make this a metaphor without any evidence to this understanding, and it can be shown that this scripture is in fact literal without much effort (as shown in other threads), but with that said; This scripture shows there is a second death, just as we read at Rev 20:6, because during this time that these ones are resurrected they will be given a chance to follow Jehovah's will or they will be part of that second death when they will be cut off eternally, while the others receive everlasting life after Satan is let loose, then destroyed according to Rev 20.

    Now we can go back to Rev 14:13 "Write: Happy are the dead who die in union with the Lord from this time onward." We read here that some will die who are faithful after the 144k are seen. Therefore we know this isn't the second death, but part of the first, because the faithful receive everlasting life at the second. This also tells us that the 144k are seen before the new world, and this also tells us that some of these 144k who are said to be in union with the Lord are still going to die after being seen standing next to him. That right there tells us a lot about the state of the 144k when they are seen in this chapter (but another subject).

    Then we go to Rev 7:14 "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation,". This tells us that the great crowd sees the great tribulation and as well cannot include the 144k because when the 144k are seen in Rev 14 some people will still be dying, but at the point we see the great crowd no one will be still dying at the end of this world when they come out of the great tribulation, therefore the 144k cannot be the great crowd given this fact. So to sum up, these two groups cannot be the same because the 144k are identified before some will still be killed who are faithful, and the great crowd are seen after everyone has been killed as part of that great tribulation.

    So to answer your question, yes the fact the 144k are numbered and the great crowd are not and are said to be unable to be numbered is a factor to consider, but you will see here that chronology is the deciding factor in determining the identities of these two groups, for after the great crowd are seen they have come out of the great tribulation into the new world having witnessed it first hand, and it's said that after the 144k are seen some will continue to be killed as part of that great tribulation...

    Thank you brother for these conversations, it means allot to me...
     
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    Frank Conger

    Frank Conger Guest

    Hi Joshua:

    What scriptural evidence is there that tells you that these two groups of 144,000, one in Rev. 7 and one in Rev 14 are the same group. Why not two distinct groups. They certainly are mentioned in completely different contexts.

    Frank
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Because there is no evidence they are separate. The context is not at fault, only our understanding of the context. 144k are a 144k unless the scripture says this 144k is a different group then the other 144k.
     
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    Frank Conger

    Frank Conger Guest

    That's great reasoning Joshua. Bravo!
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't mean to seem cynical, but are you being facetious? lol...
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Christian greetings, JoshuaStone7,

    Good morning (starting off a new work week by speeding the clock up by an hour doesn't really make for a good morning, but there it is, nonetheless)!

    I'm not sure that I am trying to establish a hard-and-fast rule here, but rather am trying to establish the context of Revelation 14:1 (and the correlative context of Revelation 7:1). In fact, I would wholeheartedly agree with you that "each prophecy must stand on its own," which is why I continue to be confused as to how, within the context which the vision establishes, there is the appearance of interpretational mixing-and-matching going on to render an external context, especially in a case where the vision is self-unveiled.

    In the vision of Revelation 7:1-8, we're told that there is a count of 144,000 given and then the Watchtower (and you) say that while the number is an actual count, we can safely ignore the specificity as to who it is that makes up that 144,000. According to the written word, there are 12,000 from each of the specifically-named tribes of Israel who sum up to that 144,000. We can (according to the Watchtower and you) safely ignore the specificity and replace that specificity with a generalization: namely, that this is a mere way for John to speak of the "spiritual Israel's anointed class."

    Again, I'm speaking within context here. It seems like we would first want to establish a context before trying to fit it within a chronology, so here are my questions for you:

    1. Are we in agreement that when the Bible records a prophecy, and proceeds to explain elements of that prophecy, that we accept the Bible's inherent interpretation? For example, when John sees a "great crowd," and then he is told that "these are they who..." we accept the Bible's own interpretation provided, right?

    2. Are Daniel 7:4-8 and Revelation 14:1 referring to the same 144,000?

    3. If they are the same, then since Daniel 7:1-8 provides not only an actual number (144,000) but also a written word explanation of who is part of that group (in this case, he names 12 tribes of national Israel), what is the scriptural basis for keeping the first (144,000) as a specific (literal) number while at the same time dismissing the second (naming specific tribes of national Israel) as symbolically being a reference to an anointed class of a spiritual Israel? (see #1)

    4. Building on #3, why would John, at Revelation 7:4-8, be referring to 12 literal tribes of national Israel if what he meant to do was to refer to a spiritual Israel of anointed Christians?

    ~ Earthbound ~
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Early morning gaff in my most recent post... I meant to say Revelation 7:4-8 in the above #2 and #3, and not Daniel 7. But I did say it correctly in #4.

    Mondays! Overrated! ;)

    ~ Earthbound ~
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother... I'm not a morning person... o_O

    Rev 14:4 gives us the identity of the 144k; "These are the ones who did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins." Therefore these ones are made up of only men, and they have never been with a women, for they are virgins... ;)

    Okay, so obviously we have a metaphor going on here, and whether you believe the 12 tribes represent literal genetic Israel or a metaphoric spiritual Israel, obviously we can establish that Rev identifies these ones as clearly a metaphor unless your prepared to say just that, that these are only virgin men.

    Now what if we could establish that to be a Jew can and is used as a metaphor for all believers world wide? Rom 2:29; "But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit and not by a written code. That person’s praise comes from God, not from people."

    What of some genetic Jews, are they all considered Israel? Rom 9:6; "However, it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who descend from Israel are really “Israel.” So we're told here genetics is irrelevant.

    What does scripture call all those of the world who follow Christ Jesus through their conduct? Gal 6:16 "As for all those who walk orderly by this rule of conduct, peace and mercy be upon them, yes, upon the Israel of God."

    So what is the Israel of God? It is all those who walk orderly by Jehovah's rule of conduct. This hadn't always been the case previously when as a rule the genetic Jews made up "Israel".

    So when was the change???? The change occurred with Peter. Peter was given the keys to the kingdom by Christ himself. The reason for this was the vision given to Peter, let's look at it;

    [​IMG]

    If you remember, the reason Peter was given this vision was to bring in the Gentiles to true worship. Therefore from our reading of Romans and Galatians above, Cornelius became part of Israel, Cornelius became a Jew.

    In fact this moment had a very big significance in prophetic fulfillment in ending the 70th week of Dan 9. As I've mentioned before the 70th week began with Christ Jesus's baptism, and that was the fulfillment of a covenant to the "many" (physical Israel) for a Messiah, and at the half of that week Christ was cut off. Now at the end of that 70th week Cornelius was baptized ending and fulfilling that covenant promise to Israel (physical Israel) and brought in the spiritual Israel when anyone who believes became a Jew. This is the whole purpose of the vision (keys) Peter received, and establishes the moment "Israel" became all believers, in deed, in heart, and yes in fulfillment of any future prophecy regarding them. (Rom 2:29, 9:6, Gal 6:16) So right there with Peter's vision Jehovah made all of Israel anyone who follows the conduct set out in the new covenant for a kingdom presented by Christ Jesus.

    So, after this moment in history with Peter and Cornelius, again what does it mean to be a Jew? Rev 2:9; "‘I know your tribulation and poverty—but you are rich—and the blasphemy by those who call themselves Jews and really are not, but they are a synagogue of Satan." Obviously Jew's/Israelite's are all those who worship worldwide in the conduct set out by Christ Jesus.

    You said;

    To me (and just speaking for myself) the only way to identify the players is to understand when they are on stage. As an example the great crowd, without knowing they come out of the great tribulation there would be no way of identifying who these ones are, so with that said I personally identify the when, before the who...

    Comments on the above: I think the understanding that some will still be killed in the world after the 144k are seen proves the great crowd cannot be the 144k, because the 144k are alive before the great tribulation. The great crowd comes out of the great tribulation having witnessed it. Therefore the 144k were resurrected before the great crowd are even identified. Which means, the great crowd does not exist before the great tribulation because the great crowd are given their name once those who witness the great tribulation wash their robes of the blood of the lamb. The 144k are identified in Rev 14 before the great tribulation because some will still be killed after they are seen.

    And to answer your question, the second great crowd wouldn't be part of the first 144k, therefore there's no reason to mention the Israel of God as it pertains to those whom no one could number. For the 144k are the first fruits...

    Let me show you where I'm coming from. This may or may not help at all, but just so you know I identify that the 144k are seen 40 days before the end of the great tribulation. If nothing else, it helps you to see my timeline.


    [​IMG]
     
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    belongingtojah

    belongingtojah Member

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    Hi Joshua and Earthbound,

    This ia a interesting discussion.

    I just had a lightbulb moment.

    Because the literal Jews was scattered more than once to different places in this earth is it not possible that the majority of mankind has at least some of their dna directly from the intermarriages that has been going on since the begining?

    Just a thought for consideration.

    I am not sure how relevant that is because it seems to me that Jehovah and Jesus are not looking for dna but rather:

    2Chronicles 16:
    9 For, as regards Jehovah, his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him. You have acted foolishly respecting this, for from now on there will exist wars against you.”

    Acts 10:
    34 At this Peter opened his mouth and said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, 35 but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.

    I lean toward believing that Rev 7 and 14 are literal numbers.

    Have a great day.

    Joe
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Christian greetings, JoshuaStone7 (and others reading this discussion)!

    I apologize for the delay in responding, but as I mentioned previously, I have not bothered much with the whole "end times eschatology" subject in many years now, and once I located all my notes from when I left off on engaging in hermeneutics I needed time to read them through and see if they were still valid in light of what I've learned from my personal Bible study. Several things have changed over the years, so I'm still having to toss out previous thoughts and try to establish where I'm at on these things today.

    Plus, I have no real idea how to even where to begin! The challenge is that you and I evidently are coming at this from two different methods. You're supportive of an eschatology that found mainstream popularity with Darby's efforts— better known as "dispensationalism," where numerous Bible prophecies are anticipated to be fulfilled at some point in the future. It's a strongly entrenched Bible treatment, and its impact today is to interpret prophecy under the lamp of contemporary events. You're looking for something to happen in the future, and I have become convinced that most of what it is being applied to an indeterminate (but "soon") future has already been fulfilled. That would certainly include the "great tribulation" itself, which demonstratively was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70CE.

    Of course, once a person says that, the tendency for those holding their "future" views is to immediately ask "Okay, then what about this? And this? And this over here?" because such a view throws everything else "out of whack" for the futurist. Nothing makes sense unless it has some future fulfillment.

    The thing is, this was a major drive behind Revelation being written.

    What I mean by this is that the majority of Bible experts and scholars, historians, and language professionals are in agreement that Revelation was written somewhere in the neighborhood of the close of the first century. More specifically, they hold that the book was written around 90CE.

    Chronologically speaking, when Revelation was written, Jerusalem had been razed to the ground some two decades earlier. The tribulation (great tribulation, according to Matthew's account) Jesus had foretold was fulfilled, yet here were Jesus' followers still waiting for Jesus to return and the Messianic kingdom to be established. Had Jesus been wrong? Did they misunderstand something? Whatever the case, Jesus' foretold tribulation did not end with the fall of Jerusalem, and believers were in a quandary of faith. Christian Jews continued to be persecuted to martyrdom, and to a lesser extent Gentile Christians were harassed but at least had certain benefits as Roman citizens.

    For example, in his first letter to the Christians at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul writes:

    ...and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's minister in the good news about the Christ, in order to make YOU firm and comfort YOU in behalf of YOUR faith, that no one might be swayed by these tribulations. For YOU yourselves know we are appointed to this very thing. In fact, too, when we were with YOU, we used to tell YOU beforehand that we were destined to suffer tribulation, just as it has also happened and as YOU know. — 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4, NWT

    Likewise, the writer of Revelation is told to write (of Jesus):

    'I know your tribulation and poverty-but you are rich-and the blasphemy by those who say they themselves are Jews, and yet they are not but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. Look! The Devil will keep on throwing some of YOU into prison that YOU may be fully put to the test, and that YOU may have tribulation ten days. Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life." — Revelation 2:9-10, NWT

    These two passages reveal two relevant facts. First, that Jesus' tribulation was ongoing in Paul's day as he wrote to Thessalonican believers in
    about 52CE, some 20 years before the climactic fulfillment of Jesus' prediction in 70CE. Second, that the tribulation continued at least until the close of the first century if we accept what's written Revelation 2:9-10.

    In fact, up until a man named John Nelson Darby appeared on the world scene and publicized a revisiting of Bible prophecy, the general opinion (I can provide references, if needed, but the information is publicly available online) regarding the "great tribulation" was that it had been fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70CE. Darby, of course, gave Christianity the futurism approach to Bible prophecy in order to address the same question which first century Christians had: why haven't we seen the return of Jesus and the Kingdom? Where Revelation was written to believers some 20 years after the great tribulation of judgment to bolster their faith, how much more did believers who lived over 1700 years after the end of the great tribulation. The notion was "Somebody must have gotten something terribly wrong, and we need a better explanation for why Jesus hasn't returned like he said he would." And everything was moved forward much like Americans "spring" their clocks forward every year in some weird attempt to control the sunrise and sunset to suit our modern living.

    While the Watchtower dispensed with some of Darby's views, like the "rapture," they retained the parts of Darby's theology that they were comfortable with, showing the tremendous amount of influence Darby's views had on Christian thinking going into the close of the 1800s. Adventists had, by this time, their own eschatological views as well, and those found acceptable by C.T. Russell and his associated were incorporated into the theology and eschatological views of first the Bible Students and then the Watchtower movement itself. Even then, contemporary events would require thinking and interpretations to be modified and changed throughout Witness history until the eschatological views began to cause those with faith in said interpretations to falter and fall away following failed expectations, just as Proverbs 13:12 warned.

    Although the subject of the "great tribulation" will have to be explored in a separate post, I can at least provide an oversimplified visual of my current view regarding the great tribulation as it fits into the stream of prophetic time:

    [​IMG]

    Getting back, then, to the 144,000 seen in Revelation 7 and 14, I see no reason to question the Bible's own assertion that these are Jewish believers that Jesus was their expected Messiah—especially since the writer of Revelation goes to the trouble of actually naming the tribes of Israel considered as included in that symbolic number of divine, heavenly complete wholeness. I'll have to develop my reasons for this conclusion in a follow-up response to this discussion, as time is getting away from me already this morning.

    That leads me to suspect that the "great crowd" seen in John's vision is a reference to Gentile Christians, those "other sheep" that Jesus told his disciples were not "of this fold" (Jews), an innumerable number of those who "hear his voice" from all the nations, whom he would bring into one fold with him as their shepherd. (see John 10:16)

    In the meantime, we live in a period of time just as described in Mark 13:24-25. The sun being darkened, the moon not giving its light, and the stars falling from the heavens are all apocalyptic symbols associated with a period of judgment. Interestingly, we find the following in the very first chapter of the Bible:

    And God went on to say: "Let luminaries come to be in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night; and they must serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years. — Genesis 1:14, NWT

    If the Bible says that these luminaries are to serve as "signs," then what can we conclude from the absence of those signs, as intimated in Mark 13:24-25? It means that we're in a period of time when we have NO signs available to us. For all intents and purposes, Jehovah is silent as the judgment of the nations is underway while they are allowed to trample as Jehovah's instrument of punishment of Israel.

    Except for ONE sign. Just one. If we go looking for any more than the one sign we've been given, we're going to be like blind men feeling our way around in the dark, quite frankly. And if we persist in trying to roadmap Jehovah's timeline after the Bible has already made it abundantly clear that Jehovah has reserved full right and authority to times, we're going to find ourselves constantly having to come up with interpretations that will need constant revision as contemporary events force us to re-interpret. (cf Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4; Luke 11:29)

    He said to them: "It does not belong to YOU to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction; — Acts 1:7, NWT

    I find it remarkable to believers today get so convinced that when Jesus said those words, they hold the view that "Well, Jesus only meant that his own disciples would not know, but we who live today can or do know the whens. If the Bible says "the Father has placed" the knowledge of the times or seasons," I'm inclined to take the Bible at its word on the matter. It is not for us to know, even though there are those who will invariably persist in trying to usurp Jehovah's jurisdiction. And I can appreciate why they feel compelled to try to figure it out. After all, Christians in the first century certainly felt the need to make sense of events unfolding, and determined to discover how much longer they needed to endure the tremendous tribulation being brought upon them. I can only imagine the struggle some believers today would feel, now that it's been around 2,000 years since the fulfillment of Jesus' foretold tribulation and we still haven't seen the Messianic kingdom. Admittedly, there has been nearly a lifetime of the same anxiety in my own experiences, which drove me initially to interpretations of Bible prophecy in light of contemporary events, so who am I to judge those who feel compelled to shape Bible prophecy in such as way as to quell the internal conflict between what was written and what is happening now.

    In closing, I wish I had more time this morning to expound and elaborate, but the clock presses forward and the day's obligations and responsibilities both press in all around me, and I need to finish this post more quickly than the points I raised deserve. I will have to explain matters in a later follow-up, as I am sure there are plenty of questions this post raises— and deservedly so.

    ~ Earthbound ~
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother... May Jehovah's spirit carry you through all your endeavors.

    You discuss at least four different subjects in your post above, so with time constraints of my own, I will attempt to address one at a time in separate posts.

    You are correct, everything that was prophesied to occur in Daniel was fulfilled in the first century. You see, I had personally discovered through my studies that both schools of thought were correct, both that believed that prophecy had a past fulfillment, and future.

    Let me give you the example.

    In the first century the sacrifices/constant feature that Gods people should have been looking for that were ceased occurred by the hands of the temple priest Eleazar Ben Hanania. He ceased the sacrifices to the Roman emperor and people and was the main event that sparked the Jewish revolt. Then 1290 days later in 70CE Rome entered the temple to destroyed it, fulfilling the disgusting thing standing in a holy place. (Dan 12:11)

    I also believe this time frame was fulfilled with the Maccabees as well from 171 BCE-164 BCE in the same manner. According to my understanding we have at least two previous time periods Daniels words were fulfilled.

    I believe given the details within the prophecies that there still is yet a future fulfillment of these events as well. The exact day counts, which we do not have from the previous events, only approximates, the major events such as Mth 24:21 "distress will occur that will never occur again", seem to point to yet a future event (for we've had much larger disasters since 70 CE). Our Lord setting up a kingdom that will never be brought to an end, and yes even signs in sun and moon. It is my belief that all of these events can be explained with a multiple fulfillment scenario. I have come to understand that the past fulfillment's of prophecy are a yard stick for their future fulfillment's.
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Again, greetings to you Earthbound...

    May I ask, how do you interpret these scriptures below?

    Rom 2:29; "But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit and not by a written code. That person’s praise comes from God, not from people."

    Rom 9:6 "However, it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who descend from Israel are really “Israel.” So we're told here genetics is irrelevant.

    Gal 6:16 "As for all those who walk orderly by this rule of conduct, peace and mercy be upon them, yes, upon the Israel of God."

    If a single person is considered a Jew and an Israelite for simply believing (even though being a non-genetic Jew), doesn't that mean that prophecies pertaining to Jews and Israelite's include said person?

    Rom 9:6 clearly shows us that being a part of Israel is a state of our conduct, not genetic disposition, does it not?

    With that said, how can we say the great crowd are Gentiles when Cornelius became a Jew according to Rom 2:29? Does not his baptism make him a Jew and a part of Israel according to these scriptures presented?
     
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    Utuna

    Utuna Administrator

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    The GC are made up of the nations. Said otherwise, they'll be spiritual goyim, in comparison with the Israel of God.
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    My understanding of knowing future events as it pertains to prophecy is as follows;

    To start with, ultimately what we want to know is, what does it mean that "no one knows the day or hour". Does he mean no one knew at the time of his statement? Did he mean no one knew yet? Did he mean no one will ever know?

    So therefore we have three scenarios. First off from what I understand, the actual wording of Mth 24:36 is that no one at that time knew the day or hour, up to that point. So, of course this isn't definitive, because that still doesn't say anyone ever would know besides Jehovah, also that doesn't exclude perceiving the events after they were fulfilled.

    What of Acts 1:7 (as you presented)? I believe it is clear that no one is going to know when the end will begin, and I don't see any confusion on that point, but it must be said that Jesus was speaking to his disciples that presented a question about when his kingdom would be established. In reality none of them had the work of chronology, nor of when his kingdom would come to be, so in this manner Jesus's words fit his disciples only, for they were the "you" in his statement and to attempt to bring in the gentiles into your understanding would bring about a paradox even in your own thinking. Who would be the "you" in your separated Jew's and Gentile scenario?

    Next, the first century Jews were presented with an end time timeline. They may not have known when 66 CE was to come, but they knew once they saw the constant feature removed in 66 CE there would be 1290 days until the temple would be destroyed.

    So therefore we go back to my post about knowing "the day or hour" POST HERE #27. That comment by Jesus was tied into the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, in which the two witnesses had to verify the new moon. I also presented in that post that this holiday could be the first day of the end times, after which point we would understand each date to follow within the end. Did we at that moment have full knowledge of when the end begins, or did Jehovah begin the end, and at which point we know the remaining dates after the end had already begun? You see, if the first day of the chronology I have presented is Rosh Hashanah, and that is the day no one knows when it will occur, then once Jehovah fulfills that holiday, that day will have past, and we can understand the day counts between future events from that point on, just like the observant first century Christians in 66 CE.

    Now we can also look at precedence's in scripture. Have any past prophets known when events were to come before hand? Noah knew 120 years would pass before the flood, 120 days, 7 days... Moses knew 40 years would pass. Daniel knew 70 years would pass, etc... These men knew the remaining time period after it had been revealed to them by Jehovah.

    So I think my point is as it pertains to Amos 3:7. We do not know the remaining time of the end until Jehovah reveals to us the beginning of that end time, at which point we will know the remaining time table. No one knows when that first day of the end will be, in fulfillment of Rosh Hashanah...

    Amos 3:7 "For the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing Unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets."
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Christian greetings, JoshuaStone7, and thank you for what you wrote.

    I guess my first question would be how you can logically say that Daniel's prophecies were fulfilled in the first century and then believe that there is another tribulation ahead. It's a theological contradiction. The prophecy reads "no, and never will be," and not "yes, and will happen again." I don't see that in any translation I have access to.

    That's not to say something big isn't going down right now in our day, but getting back to your welcome response.

    Perhaps I can offer my thoughts about what you seem to be saying. First, the tribulation that Jesus foretold was the closing chapter on a long and difficult relationship between Jehovah and those whom He chose of all nations to be His witness to all the nations. I would hope that on that we agree.

    I'm sure we also can agree that although Israel shone at the best moments of her long history, she had some pretty nasty stretches, too. They truly were a stiff-necked people, though. And she'd cheat on her husband, Jehovah. All sorts of goings on with the nations about her.

    The tribulation foretold was Jehovah's final judgment against Israel. He'd take out a people from among the nations, with the stated intent of driving Israel to jealousy. But before that fateful day of Judgment, Jehovah informed his servants, the people of Israel, what He was about to do. Jesus' ministry only lasted 3 1/2 years, was put to death by the very people who had been crying to Jehovah to send them. And with that, it was finished. They signed the contract with death with the blood of their Messiah as the ink. So, Jehovah brought the tribulation upon them in 70CE, and they've since been cut-off from Jehovah.

    Just as prophesied, the Gentiles have been trampling the sons and daughters of Abraham, although they, too, came into a period of judgment, and at some point the "time of the Gentiles" clocks out.

    In the meantime, it was now time to take out a new people for His name, and Jehovah raised Jesus to life and glorification as the firstfruits of the harvest to come as the seed bore fruitage. Jesus became the lord of this people taken from out among the Gentiles. Their king and high priest. Out with the fulfilled Law of Moses, Jesus was making all things new. As many as believed the gospel that went out by the feet and mouths of those of Israel who already believed, the Jewish Christians such as Peter and Andrew and the other disciples. Jesus confirmed to them that there were "others, not of this fold/flock," clearly identifiable with the "great crowd" seen after the Jewish Christians in Revelation, and demonstrating the innumerable number of Gentiles who would come into Christianity.

    And he selected Paul as the replacement of Judas, then sent Paul to the Gentiles. Which did not go over well with the now-apostles, Peter and the others. If you ever want to read a fascinating exploration of history, I'd recommend two books: "Paul: His Life and Teaching" by John McRay, and "The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity," by Jeffrey J. Butz— they provide a respectable amount of context on the conflict that rested between the Jewish apostles and Paul, and the things he did to jump through their hoops in hopes of finally being accepted by them. James was definitely a "conservative" in the modern lingo. Paul was not, and was even preaching that Gentiles weren't under Mosaic Law, that they didn't need to get circumcised to come into the Abrahamic covenant.

    We have a very faded and rose-colored vision of those days. We picture the Christians standing as one, Jew and Gentile, when nothing was further from the truth as evidenced by the constant reminders found in the epistles, right?

    In any event, Jews who became followers of Jesus were harassed by their fellowmen exceedingly as apostates. Stephen was the first of many, many martyrs to follow. Gentiles, not so much since they lived under Roman law and had citizenship rights. Not that the Gentile churches didn't have their own issues as evidenced by the letters to the congregations in Revelation. Humans are humans, after all.

    Okay, enough digression.

    You pointed out a valid fact: we've had worse disasters than that since 70CE.

    And you are right.

    But the tribulation and the catastrophes, holocausts, genocides, etc are completely separate matters. We can't lose sight of the reality that the tribulation foretold by Daniel was fulfilled in the events which led up to 70CE. That was a direct judgment from Jehovah. Jehovah handed Israel over to the Gentiles to be trampled until the expiration of the "time of the Gentiles," when the nations who He had allowed to trample the descendants of Abraham are called to the carpet to answer for their ruination of the earth, along with a great many other things.

    Unlike 70CE, the Holocaust, just as one example of horrendous proportions since 70CE, was not a judgment of punishment from Jehovah. Nor was the Spanish Flu, or the first world war. Or the abortions. None of these are judgments from Jehovah; they are us reaping what we sow, they are men who dominate other men to their injury. And again, the list can go on.

    Oh yes, the Gentiles (the nations down to this day and up to the end of the time of trampling) are approaching their own day of Judgment. Anyone can see that. But it's not going to be a repeat of 70CE, that dreaded time of Jacob's trouble, which was Jehovah destroying everything that the Jews clung to like they did back when Moses brought Jehovah's Law into their midst at the feet of Mount Sinai. They can keep thinking that they'll be able to go back to doing things like they were before 70CE, but it'll never happen. They still can't see their own Messiah, but at some point ahead they'll come begging at the feet of Jesus just like Joseph's brothers did, and the veil will be lifted from their eyes. What happens next will be between them and Jesus as their appointed king and judge. But the old system? It's over; Jesus describes it as "making all things new;" and the principle and promise of that new system started at Jerusalem and went out into all the world, drawing believers from every continent, each with their past common to Man, who then witnessed to others, down to this day. Gentile Christians who heard the voice of their shepherd, repented, and followed the Lamb. Just as we do today, right? Instead of sacrificing animals who hadn't even sinned, we sacrifice self. We turn to doing the things we ought, and we forsake not the gathering of ourselves together. We pray for those who persecute us, whatever the magnitude that persecution is at. As well, we battle with our own fallen tendencies. We are kept pretty busy, but on top of it all, we are battling unseen forces, principalities, and their like who are unwittingly coaxing humankind to an encounter with the Messianic King, Jesus.

    When you get a chance, I'd be interested in you expounding on this.

    He began setting up that kingdom when he told his disciples that "upon this rock" he would build his...? The rock was a reference to himself as the cornerstone of our faith. The disciples became pillars in the Jewish Christian movement, as well, although we know far more about Paul's ministry to the Gentiles. And no wonder, since the disciples understood their role as focusing on fellowmen and fellowwomen among the sons and daughters of Abraham. Their assignment was over the "little flock," for lack of a simpler description, and along with the help of James, the brother of Jesus, they made Jerusalem the home center of Christianity up until around 70CE, when all of the smart Christians recognized that the great tribulation was nigh at hand and got out of Dodge, er, Jerusalem.

    And to this day, Jesus has been setting up a kingdom. The day is at hand when he will establish it and serve as king and high priest to the day when all enemies are no more, and Jesus gives his rulership to Jehovah, and presents us to our Creator and Father, Jehovah.

    ~ Earthbound ~
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Christian greetings, JoshuaStone7,

    I don't know that interpretation is in order, per se. Looking at the context of the passage, the apostle is addressing the question of Jewish identity.

    For the hearers of law are not the ones righteous before God, but the doers of law will be declared righteous. — Romans 2:13, NWT

    Paul also points out that even those who "do not have law" demonstrate the matter of the law written on their hearts. In general, we today have commonplace laws. That is, we punish criminals who infringe on those things considered unacceptable by the current culture. Murder would be an example of a "commonplace" law, which is to say that even people who are atheists know that murder is wrong. As twisted and demented as it has become through our own falling away since Eden and Satan's manipulations, we do retain the "knowledge of good and evil" that Adam and Eve took for themselves. Unfortunately, the boundaries have been getting pushed further and further away from even the laws we have by nature, instilled as a result of being made "in the image" of our Creator.

    But getting back to your question and Paul's point.

    If we turn to Deuteronomy, we can see that the apostle Paul is referencing back to that record as he makes his point.

    And Jehovah your God will have to circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, that you may love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul for the sake of your life... for you will listen to the voice of Jehovah your God so as to keep his commandments and his statutes written in this book of the law, because you will return to Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul. — Deuteronomy 30:8, 10 NWT

    Drawing on his familiarity with the Mosaic law and writings, having learned at the feet of Gamaliel, Paul directs his listeners to their obligation in listening and obeying Jehovah's commandments and statutes.

    A good example is the so-called "Golden Rule," which goes "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." In the general, we read this commandment in the passive, yet the very first word is Do. We are the ones obligated to take the first step, to fill need, to offer support, and to fulfill the law of the Christ, right? To demonstrate our role as ambassadors in our time for the kingdom we look forward to.

    Jesus, throughout his brief ministry, sought to get his followers to appreciate that our hearts can condemn us far more than our restraint from the action residing in our heart. If we hate our brother, but don't harm or murder him, we might as well have, because we have done so in our heart, and that's what Jehovah and His appointed King and Judge will be looking at. Those secrets we are able to hide from everyone else, even our closest relationships.

    I'll get to the next scripture you cited in a separate response, as I've run out of time again. o_O

    ~ Earthbound ~
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Earthbound, greetings brother...

    Until I can respond, could you please share with me what Israel is, and what a Jew is according to your understanding in our day? Please expound on possible objections...

    Thanks.
     
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    belongingtojah

    belongingtojah Member

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    Hi Utuna,

    Could you please explain what you mean by goyim.

    Joe
     
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    Frank Conger

    Frank Conger Guest

    Just as the Nation of Israel was made up of the genetic or adoptive seed of Abraham in a genetic sense, so the members of the Israel of God are all those that are the covenant Son's of Jesus. Now I know many here believe that only the Bride of Christ numbering 144,000 are part of the covenant Son's of Jesus but that Covenant, the New Covenant is not the only Angelic Covenant that Jesus made with his Father. Yes, the new Covenant was made "only" with the members of Christ's Bride and there are only 144,000 literal members of that Covenant (not exactly, but we'll leave it at that for now). Part of the Covenant that Jesus made with his Father to redeem "mankind" included an angelic Covenant that precedes the New Covenant. It was new in regard to the Law Covenant, that is true, but it was also a new Covenant with regard to a previous angelic Covenant for the adopting of Son's of God who are not part of the Bride of Christ. So, "the Israel of God" are all those born again Son's of God, including but not restricted to the members of the new Covenant. The Son's of God will make up the members of the Kingdom in both Heaven and on the Earth. The Heavenly Kingdom will rule through the Kingdom on Earth. So, as the Heavan needs Covenanted Kings to Rule, so does the Earth for them to Rule through. Like Jehovah, they cannot deal directly with "dead" ones (judicially dead ones) but can only deal with those who are alive or are mediators of covenant due to the ransomed life of someone who is alive. Like Abraham, who was judicially dead but was viewed as alive based on his faith and the future ransom of someone who was "alive", Jesus. So, Jehovah mediated an agreement with Abraham based on the future sacrifice of Jesus that made Abraham "constructively" alive and able to be dealt with by Jehovah. By the way, Jesus gave two souls as ransom, his fleshly soul that he took from Immanuel, and his angelic soul that he left in heaven to come to earth. You can't ransom people for life as spirits with a human sacrifice, but you can with an angelic sacrifice. Jesus' fleshly soul (life) ransomed Abraham and allowed Abraham to covenant or mediate a covenant with God. Jesus gave his angelic soul as a ransom for Adam and the rest of mankind, so that they could become Angelic. The constant offering was twice per day. Once in the morning (or in the light and visible to all) and once at nightfall (which was a symbolically "hidden") sacrifice. The morning sacrifice typified Jesus ransom at Calvary for Abraham and the hidden sacrifice at night symbolizes his sacrifice of his Angelic body (sour) that he gave as ransom for Adam in order to buy back mankind. One allows for life on earth, and the other everlasting life in the heavens.

    Frank
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Christian greetings, BelongingToJah,

    Here is some brief information about goyim.

    I'll leave it to Utuna to expound further, as needed.

    ~ Earthbound ~
     

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