QUESTION: Here is a quote from one of your articles I don’t understand “Just as Jesus indicated that the Law and the Prophets were until John (the Baptizer), secondarily, or rather – primarily – the Prophets are until the second coming of Jesus Christ.” Where do you get your understanding on the prophets are until the second coming of Christ?
Jesus made the statement that the Law and the Prophets were until John to impress upon the Jews that a new phase of God’s purpose was beginning then; that, being the advent of the Kingdom of God —Jesus being the King.
As we know, Jesus’ sacrificial death brought an end to the law covenant. Also, the prophets pointed forward to the coming of the Messiah. But unlike the law covenant, the Hebrew prophecies were not all fulfilled in Jesus. Virtually all of the prophets speak in one way or another to the second coming of Christ. (In fact, many aspects of the Mosaic law also point to the administration of Christ, such as his work as Jehovah’s priest.)
For example, in the context of Jesus’ remarks in the 11th chapter of Matthew concerning the Law and the Prophets Jesus revealed that John the Baptizer was the “Elijah” to come in fulfillment of prophecy. However, the prophecies themselves make it clear that there is an “Elijah” forerunner who precedes the day of Jehovah. The very last verse of the entire Hebrew catalogue states: “Look! I am sending to you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awe-inspiring day of Jehovah. And he will turn the hearts of fathers back toward sons, and the hearts of sons back toward fathers, so that I may not come and strike the earth, devoting it to destruction.”
Jesus’ statement that the Prophets were until John was not intended to imply that the prophecies had no future application beyond the first century. Reasonably, logically, what Jesus intended to establish is a pattern. Just as Elijah had a successor in the form of Elisha, John the Baptizer preceded Christ and introduced him to the Jews; likewise, the second coming of Christ will immediately precede the “great and awe-inspiring day of Jehovah.”
And if you want to accept it, Jesus himself is the “Elijah” to come. And true to the pattern Jesus will appoint a successor over all of his belongings.
By the way, in Hebrew the name of Elijah means my God is Jehovah.
But as regards the prophets —plural —just for fun let’s briefly examine each book of prophecy and see if all the prophets really do point to the second coming of Christ.
The book of Isaiah is loaded with messianic prophecies, intermingling his first and second coming in the same context. Take the 11th chapter as a sample, where it states: “A twig will grow out of the stump of Jesse, and a sprout from his roots will bear fruit. And the spirit of Jehovah will settle upon him, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. And he will find delight in the fear of Jehovah. He will not judge by what appears to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to what his ears hear. He will judge the lowly with fairness, and with uprightness he will give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth and put the wicked to death with the breath of his lips.”
The stump of Jesse is a reference to Jesse’s son, David, whom Jehovah made a covenant with for an everlasting kingdom. David’s kingdom was cut down though, leaving just a figurative stump. However, Jesus was a descendent of Jesse and David making him a legal heir of the throne. Jehovah’s spirit settled down upon him when he was baptized by John and anointed as the messianic king. Hence, the twig sprouted from the stump. Jesus certainly had a spirit of wisdom and understanding, surpassing the understanding of any mere flesh-born human. But, obviously Jesus has not struck the earth with the rod of his mouth, nor has he put the wicked to death. That is reserved for the second coming, when he shepherds the nations with an iron rod.
By the way, in Hebrew the name Isaiah literally means salvation of Jehovah, which is what the name Jesus means as well.
Next in canonical order is the book of Jeremiah. Although Jeremiah prophesied against Jerusalem —foretelling it’s complete destruction —he also foretold the recuperation of God’s people. However, chapters 30-31 of Jeremiah foretells the restoration of God’s people to their land and God establishing a new covenant with them as taking place during the final part of the days.
And of course, we know that the new covenant, which was only inaugurated in the first century, with Jesus functioning as the mediator of the covenant, will come to completion when the last of the 144,000 have been gathered and sealed —at the second coming of Christ, during the conclusion of the system, or final part of the days if you prefer. Paul revealed as much when he explained to the Corinthians regarding the Lord’s Evening meal: “For whenever you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he comes.”
When the Lord comes that will qualify as his second coming and conclude the new covenant.
Next, the prophecy of Daniel is all about the parousia and coming of Christ in his Kingdom. From the miraculous appearance in the fiery furnace of someone whom Nebuchadnezzar described as appearing as a son of the gods, to the vision in the seventh chapter of the son of man going access to the Ancient of days, to the conquest of the beast by the Prince of princes, to the standing up of Michael, the great prince to bring an end to the king of the north, all point to the coming of Christ to save his people and destroy Satan’s system.
The prophet Daniel also personally interacted with materialized angels. In doing so he participated in a prophetic drama rich with meaning. Daniel describes his encounter with the superhuman being this way: “On the 24th day of the first month, while I was on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and saw a man clothed in linen, and around his waist was a belt of gold from Uphaz. His body was like chrysolite, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like fiery torches, his arms and his feet looked like burnished copper, and the sound of his words was like the sound of a multitude. Only I, Daniel, saw the vision; the men with me did not see the vision. However, a great trembling seized them, and they ran away and hid. Then I was left by myself, and when I saw this great vision, there was no power left in me and my dignified appearance left me and I lost all strength. Then I heard the sound of him speaking; but when I heard him speaking, I fell fast asleep with my face to the ground. But then a hand touched me, and it stirred me to get up on my hands and knees.”
Bible students should recognize the similarity of Daniel’s and the apostle John’s experience. In the book of Revelation John relates his encounter with the glorified Christ in similar terms: “I turned to see who was speaking with me, and when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man, clothed in a garment that reached down to the feet and wearing a golden sash around his chest. Moreover, his head and his hair were white as white wool, as snow, and his eyes were like a fiery flame, and his feet were like fine copper when glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth a sharp, long, two-edged sword was protruding, and his countenance was like the sun when it shines at its brightest. When I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet.”
Since the identity of the glorious personage in Revelation is not in question, and the vision of Revelation is to show God’s slaves the things that must take place in the Lord’s day, it stands to reason that Daniel’s encounter also has to do with the Lord’s day. That is confirmed by the fact that the visiting angel stated that his purpose was to show Daniel what is to befall his people in the final part of the days. The fact that the angel addressed the aged prophet as a very precious man relates to the holy ones of the Supreme One, who are most precious to him. Daniel merely prefigured the holy ones.
Interestingly, although Daniel saw the divine person the men with him did not. They were only gripped with terror due to an awareness of power beyond their sense of sight. The Jewish zealot, Saul, also had a similar experience when Christ appeared to him in a flash of light as he traveled on the road to Damascus. His companions heard the voice but saw nothing.
Later the converted Paul said of his experience that his seeing Christ was as if he was born prematurely. What did the apostle mean? All the other apostles saw Jesus in the flesh. Even in his post-resurrection/pre-ascension appearances Jesus manifested himself in materialized human bodies. However, after his ascension Jesus appeared to Paul as a glorious being, which was manifest as a flash of light. Paul’s being born premature meant that he saw Christ as he will be manifested at his second coming, what Paul referred to as “the second time that he appears.” —Hebrews 9:28
In view of what has already been stated in regards to all the visions of Daniel relating to the second coming of Christ, it seems that Daniel’s interaction with the overawing angel foreshadows Jesus’ parousia, when he becomes manifest to his precious holy ones and they see him as he is.
Check out retired Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy blog
Next in order, Hosea. The third chapter of Hosea foretells: “It is because for a long time the people of Israel will dwell without a king, without a prince, without a sacrifice, without a pillar, and without an ephod and teraphim statues. Afterward the people of Israel will come back and look for Jehovah their God and for David their king, and they will come trembling to Jehovah and to his goodness in the final part of the days.”
At no time did the people of Israel, especially their leaders, accept Jesus as the legitimate heir of the throne of David. In fact, the Jews put Jesus to death because they claimed they had no king but Cesar. Not to overlook the fact that the prophecy is to be fulfilled in the final part of the days.
Obviously, the “Israel” that will come looking for Jehovah relates to that which Paul called “the Israel of God” —a reference to the congregation of the firstborn. Contrary to the Watchtower’s teaching, though, the people of “Israel” have not come trembling to Jehovah. That will occur at the second coming of Christ.
By the way, the name Hosea, the shortened form of the name Hoshaiah, means Jehovah has saved in Hebrew —the same meaning as Jesus’ name.
The next Hebrew prophecy is Joel. The apostle Peter explained that the prophecy related the Pentecost outpouring of holy spirit, which he stated was to occur in the last days.
No doubt on that special Pentecost the Jews were still abuzz about what had occurred in Jerusalem 50 days prior, when Christ was executed on a stake and the sun grew dark at high noon and a great earthquake rocked Jerusalem and the massive sanctuary curtain was ripped down the middle. But the prophecy of Joel only applied to the Pentecost outpouring of spirit in 33 CE in a very limited way. The real fulfillment is to take place, not at the inauguration of Christianity, but at it’s conclusion, during the day of Jehovah. The third chapter of Joel states: “Sun and moon will become dark, and the stars will lose their brightness. And Jehovah will roar out of Zion, out of Jerusalem he will raise his voice. And heaven and earth will rock; but Jehovah will be a refuge for his people, a fortress for the people of Israel.”
Again, no one should imagine that the modern city of Jerusalem has any role to play in prophecy. However, a symbolic city of Jerusalem is featured in virtually all prophecy —including Jesus’ own prophecy of the conclusion.
Jesus used the same phraseology as the prophets, foretelling “there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation. People will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Since Jesus revealed that the apocalyptic signs foretold in Joel really pertain to the coming of the Son of man, it is apparent that Jesus will be the one to roar and raise his voice —having come in his Father’s name.
Indeed, the 10th chapter of Revelation envisions that very thing, depicting the incoming ruler, the lion of the tribe of Judah, as a powerful angel, as he stands astride the earth and sea, obviously claiming dominion over it: “And I saw another strong angel descending from heaven, arrayed with a cloud, and a rainbow was on his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs were like pillars of fire, and he had in his hand a little scroll that had been unrolled. And he set his right foot on the sea, but his left one on the earth, and he cried out with a loud voice just as when a lion roars. And when he cried out, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.”
So, the book of Joel is all about the coming of Christ and the final outpouring of spirit. The pouring out of the spirit on every sort of flesh, when the sons and daughters of Jehovah will prophesy, finds a parallel with what Jesus foretold would occur after the harvest, when the sons of the Kingdom will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom.
By the way, the name Joel means Jehovah is God in Hebrew.
The book of Amos follows the same pattern as the other prophets. Jehovah reveals his legal case against Israel. He is ultimately forced to punish his people, especially the leadership who are sprawling on their couches of ivory; but in his compassion he restores them to his blessing. And like the other prophecies, there are overlapping features with the first and second coming of Christ Consider the last chapter, which states: “For look! I am giving the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations, just as one shakes a sieve, and not a pebble falls to the ground. They will die by the sword, all the sinners of my people, those who are saying, “The calamity will not come near us or reach us.” In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, I will repair the breaches, and I will restore its ruins; I will rebuild it as in the days of long ago, so that they may take possession of what is remaining of Edom, and all the nations on whom my name has been called,’ declares Jehovah, who is doing this.”
In the 15th chapter of Acts James quoted the prophecy of Amos and applied it to the phenomenon they were witnessing, that people of the nations, that is to say non-Jews, were accepted by Jehovah as his people. The booth of David is in reference to the Kingdom of Christ.
However, at the time of Christ’s first coming the fleshly nation of Israel was not in any need of being regathered, nor were they at that time among the nations. Nor was it possible for them to take possession of Edom, since the nation had been extinguished long before the appearance of Jesus. Clearly, the prophecy relates to the second coming of Christ. The rebuilding of the booth of David has to do with the regathering of anointed Christians and all those who are called by God’s name after the desolation of symbolic “Jerusalem” by a disgusting thing.
The little scroll of Obadiah is next. Its single chapter concludes, saying: “And saviors will go up on Mount Zion to judge the mountainous region of Esau, and the kingship will become Jehovah’s.”
The sons of Esau, though related to the sons Jacob since Jacob and Esau were twin brothers, were nonetheless implacable enemies. Edom, though, was wiped out by Nebuchadnezzar and was never restored, as was Jacob. Nevertheless, Edom has prophetic meaning. That is evident from the fact that during the time of the end Moab and Edom will escape the world-rocking onslaught of the king of the north. Edom, then, must picture the religious enemies of the anointed Israel of God.
The Scriptures use the expression “Jehovah has become king.” However, Jehovah has always been king. He becomes king, though, when Jesus asserts Jehovah’s sovereignty. That is what Obadiah relates to —the second coming of Christ. That is when the first resurrection will begin and all of those called into the Kingdom will assemble on heavenly Mount Zion, totaling 144,000. They are the “saviors” who will judge Esau. In other words, Babylon the Great and especially the Catholic Church, the implacable enemy of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Interestingly, Revelation reveals that immediately after the harlot of Babylon is destroyed a great shout of praise ascends, proclaiming: “Praise Jah, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king! Let us rejoice and be overjoyed and give him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself.”
Again, Jehovah has alway been king, but he begins to rule when his Son, joined by his heavenly bride, begins ruling the world and destroys God’s enemies.
By the way, Obadiah means servant of Jehovah in Hebrew, which is what Jesus has always been.
Micah is also among the prophets who foretell the judgments to be unveiled in the final part of the days. His prophecy reiterates that of Isaiah: “In the final part of the days, the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will be raised up above the hills, and to it peoples will stream. And many nations will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob. He will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For law will go out of Zion, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. He will render judgment among many peoples and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore.”
The mountain of the house of Jehovah is the Kingdom of Christ. Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, who will judge in the capacity of Jehovah and set matters straight between God and his people.
Although the Watchtower insists that the prophecy is being fulfilled already, demonstrated by the numerical growth of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have figuratively beaten their swords into plowshares, needless to say, Jesus has not rendered judgment respecting mighty nations. And without question there are many matters that have not been set straight among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Obviously, too, nations still war against each other.
Clearly, the prophecy of Micah is pointing forward to the second coming of Christ in the future.
By the way, the name Micah is the shortened form of Michael, which is the name Jesus’ bore before he became human and which he resumed upon his return to heaven.
THE PROPHECY OF NAHUM
The prophecy of Nahum is one book I don’t think I have ever written anything about. Its subject matter has to do with God’s overthrow of the cruel Assyrian Empire. However, there is an interesting incongruity. Nahum 1:15 states: “Look! On the mountains are the feet of one bringing good news, the one proclaiming peace. Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, pay your vows, for the worthless one will never pass through you again. He will be utterly destroyed.”
The anomaly is, although God wiped out the Assyrian army when they laid siege to Judah, he later employed the Babylonians to execute his judgments upon them. In that instance the worthless one did pass through the holy city again.
Furthermore, the feet of the one bringing good news is an echo of Isaiah’s prophecy, which states: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news, the one proclaiming peace, the one bringing good news of something better, the one proclaiming salvation, the one saying to Zion: ‘Your God has become King!’”
Again, there is that expression that the King of eternity has become King. Isaiah’s prophecy relates to the repurchase of the sons of the covenant and their being made whole with God under the kingship of Christ. This ties in Nahum with the second coming of Christ, when the last earthly king, the modern Assyrian, will be utterly destroyed by Jesus.
As Revelation reveals, the prophecy of Nahum agrees: “He is causing a complete extermination. Distress will not arise a second time.”
According to Jehovah the prophecy of Habakkuk is a vision “yet for its appointed time, and it is rushing toward its end, and it will not lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it! For it will without fail come true. It will not be late!”
The vision concerns the Chaldean whom Jehovah assigns to mete out punishment. But the punisher enjoys his work too much, which obligates Jehovah to intervene. In response to the atrocities committed by the Chaldean, “God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His majesty covered the heavens; with his praise the earth was filled. His brightness was like the light. Two rays flashed from his hand, where his strength was hidden. Before him went pestilence, and burning fever followed at his feet. He stood still and shook the earth. With a look, he made nations leap. The eternal mountains were smashed, and the ancient hills bowed down…Your bow is uncovered and ready. The rods are assigned with an oath…A downpour of waters swept through. The deep roared with its voice. It lifted its hands high. Sun and moon stood still in their lofty abode. Your arrows went out like the light. The lightning of your spear was brilliant. You marched through the earth with indignation.You trampled the nations in anger. You went out for the salvation of your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the house of the wicked.
We know, Jehovah is not personally going to come to earth to set matters straight. That is what Jesus is going to do. As Jesus himself indicated war and pestilence immediately precede his appearance. The nations will rock. The sea will be boisterous, roaring in agitation. Men will become faint with fear. Like the description in Habakkuk, Jesus is also described as trampling the nations as if they were clay. He also wields a bow and a sword. And Jesus is most certainly the Savior of God’s anointed ones.
Clearly, the prophecy of Habakkuk is a vision for the appointed time of Christ’s second coming.
Zephaniah relates to the judgment of the house of God and the removal of the haughty ones from their positions of authority. The end result is stated in the third chapter: “Jehovah has removed the judgments against you.
He has turned away your enemy. The King of Israel, Jehovah, is in your midst. You will fear calamity no more.”
Following the pattern of all the other prophets, Zephaniah reveals that first comes the destruction and the removal of the corrupting elements. Then comes the restoration and ultimately salvation. As already discussed, Jehovah’s becoming king takes place through the kingship of Jesus, who is the King of Israel.
Contrary to the teachings of the Watchtower, Jesus has not taken up ruling power over the world yet. But when he does, then that is when God’s people are given a change to a pure language. That should be evident from the context, which says: “‘So keep yourselves in expectation of me,’ declares Jehovah, ‘until the day when I rise up to take plunder, for my judicial decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them my indignation, all my burning anger; for by the fire of my zeal the whole earth will be consumed. For then I will change the language of the peoples to a pure language, so that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.’”
In reality, it is Jesus who is coming to take plunder. He even warned his followers to stay in expectation of him because he is coming as a thief at a time they do not anticipate. And it is Jesus who is going to judge the nations.
Since the scripture plainly states that the change to the pure language of truth comes about when Jehovah rises up to take plunder, obviously that day has not arrived. The fact that the leadership of the Watchtower claim otherwise, they reveal themselves to be those against whom the judgment is coming —even as Zephaniah’s prophecy goes on to say: “On that day you will not be put to shame because of all your deeds with which you rebelled against me, for then I will remove the haughty boasters from among you; and you will never again be haughty in my holy mountain. I will allow a humble and lowly people to remain in your midst, and they will take refuge in the name of Jehovah. Those remaining of Israel will practice no unrighteousness; they will not speak a lie, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths; they will feed and lie down, and no one will make them afraid.”
Those haughty boasters proclaim themselves to be the practicers of pure religion —they claim to speak the pure language of truth, even though they speak lies in the name of Jehovah, making their lie concerning Jehovah already having become king in 1914 an article of faith. The second coming of Christ will distinguish the faithful slave from the evil slave and separate the wheat from the weeds —the meek and humble from the presumptuous and haughty boasters, just as is portrayed in the prophecy of Zephaniah.
By the way, in Hebrew Zephaniah means Jehovah has concealed, which is what Paul said in regards to Jesus; namely, “Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.”
HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH AND MALACHI
The Watchtower has written a far bit about Haggai. In fact, Fred Franz wrote a 400 page commentary on just Zechariah and Haggai entitled Paradise Restored by Theocracy. While it is all explained in connection with the return of Christ, unfortunately it is all tied to 1914. So is the prophecy of Malachi.
But for some perspective, the book of Haggai foretells that God will fill his rebuilt house with the desirable things of the nations when he rocks the world. The Watchtower ardently believes that God has been rocking the nations for the past century; this, in spite of the fact that since WWII the world has enjoyed a prolonged period of relative peace and prosperity.
I suppose I have written enough, for now.