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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Monday, February 27, 2023

Michael and Gabriel: The Two Witnesses of the Revelation?

There are a number of theories as to whom will fulfill the prophecy of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. One theory puts forth the angels Michael and Gabriel. Let's take a quick look at this possibility. 

Michael is associated with Israel in both the Hebrew and Greek texts.

Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come (Daniel 10:14)

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. (Daniel 12:1)

Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9)

I believe what we see in the prophecy of Daniel connects Michael to the time of the tribulation ("a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then") and Israel ("your people").  

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

-Revelation 11:1-8

The two witnesses are given power and given protection as they are given a ministry connected to the Temple and Altar (Rev 11:1-3). They are called "lampstands" (Rev 11:4). The conditions are said to mirror Sodom and Egypt (Rev 11:8).  In Sodom. angels took on bodies and were the target of Sodomites. They had to seek shelter. So, it would seem if angels take on a body, they can "die."

While dead, Israel mourns them as the world rejoices. They are resurrected and then taken into heaven. 

Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God [spirit] entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.

-Revelation 11:11-13

Obviously this is conjecture based on the possibility, but I think there is at least room to consider Michael (or angels) as the witnesses. Unless, I'm not considering something, it seems worthy of consideration. Michael and Daniel both being prominent in Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks and the time of Jacob's trouble (tribulation) along with Michael's appearance in the warning epistle of Jude in the Acts Age. There, Michael is seen as rebuking Satan in the name of the Lord. The context being Moses.

Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

-Jude 1:9


A closer look at the lampstands should be undertaken as well. Angels being connected to the tribulation churches. The word angels can have a broader meaning, but we note it nonetheless.  Staying  in the Revelation:

The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:20)

The olive tree imagery, as I see it, also points to Israel. Hosea 14 speaks of God restoring  Israel as he did Hosea's adulterous wife. Israel will become "Ammi" (My people) again. I won't quote the whole chapter, but it's good reading. 

Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

Ezekiel speaks of the restoration of Israel when he will take their heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26). And they will again be his people. Jeremiah 31, Hebrews 8, Zechariah 8, Zechariah 12, etc.

Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:28)

His beauty shall be like an olive tree (Hosea 14:6b)

So, Michael and Gabriel could be considered here. Gabriel also appears in Daniel chapter 8 connected to the end times vision (which then connects to the Revelation and the gospels). Gabriel appears in Luke as well. This is what he prophecies to Mary, in part:

He [Jesus] will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

This is connected to the Revelation and the restoration of the Kingdom in Israel and establishing of David's throne.

I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. (Revelation 22:16)

The Son of David is connected to Israel and Gentiles have no claim to this title. The ministry of angels is also connected to Israel in many ways (especially Michael and Gabriel).

And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!... But He answered her not a word... But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel...”  Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”  But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s [Israel's] bread and throw it to the little dogs [Gentiles].”

Her request was granted when she acknowledged him only as Lord and took her place as a little dog below the children (the master). Her daughter was healed from a distance )as was the gentile Centurion's servant in Matthew 8).

And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

When a child of Abraham call on him the same way, the Lord responds quite differently. 

And when he [the blind beggar] heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?

Michael and Gabriel (as the angels in general) have a special ministry to Israel. Might they be called upon to be the witnesses to that nation in her time of great distress? It's worth considering. 

The primary candidates put forward (for a number of reasonable and scriptural reasons) are Elijah, Enoch, and Moses. As with much of the prophecies concerning the last days and the time of Israel's testing, we stay in the arena of speculation trusting that God will do what is right and the remnant of Israel will recognize the witnesses sent to her.


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Slander Against the Children of Israel

I would like to preface this post by saying that I have no idea who, today, is a physical Jew and who is not. The Lord knows, however. I would also note that in the current age, it doesn't matter in terms of blessings and hopes (as it will again in the age to come).

I was prompted to summarize this topic (as we have previously looked at the details of the place of the Gentile during the Lord's earthly ministry and in the Books of the Acts age) because of certain slanderous posts on social media regarding supposed quotes in the Talmud. In short, the supposed quotes are purposely bad translations or they're completely fabricated. The hope of those posting the gross misrepresentations is that the reader will not seek out the quotes for himself.

I will not post all the examples of the libelous images. I will offer instead, for context, one of the more benign examples. 

 Those posting these things assert that the following is from the Talmud:

"Even the best of Goyim should all be killed."

Here is the quote as it reads in the English Talmud (1965): 

"Kill the best of the heathen in time of war." 

That's quite different than what is contained in the supposed quote. Clearly there is an attempt here to cast Jews, et al, as evil cultists.

Scripture places the Gentile living among Israel in a lower state (Lev 23, repeated in Acts 15 and Act 21). All through the Acts age, the Jew is first and superior in kingdom position to the Gentile (this is no longer the case). Paul wrote it is the duty of Gentile believers to support Jewish believers financially in the Book of Romans. 

For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their [Jews] spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
-Romans 15:26-27

Paul warns Gentile believers in Romans 11 not to become "haughty" against the "root (Israel)" lest they be "cut of" from the blessings. This warning is for Gentile believers only. We've covered elsewhere.

The Lord himself calls Israel his "children" and that he was sent to them alone. In that same passage, Gentiles are compared to "little dogs" by the Lord who must take the scraps that fall from the "children's" table. 

But he answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 
-Matthew 15:24-27

The Lord forbids the Gospel of the Kingdom to be preached to Gentiles (Matt 10, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles..."). The twelve Apostles went to Jews only (save Peter once). The risen Lord taught the enlightened apostles for 40 days concerning the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel (Luke 24; Acts 1) as we looked at many times. At Pentecost, Jews only present. Peter's offer of the return of Christ to restore the Kingdom was to Jews only (Acts 3). Etc.

Do we accuse the Lord of being anti-Gentile? Well, in a way, he was. Do we accuse the enlightened apostles of the same? They understood the purpose of the grafting in of Gentiles and came to understand the equality in the free gift of life. But in the matters concerning the Kingdom plan for the land, both the Lord and the Apostles understood the meaning, "to the Jew first." 

And Paul reminds us in Romans 9:1-5

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Readers of this blog will understand that these promises concern the promised land and the earthly kingdom. These are related to a hope given "since" or "from" the foundation of the ages. The hope of the present age were hidden from "before" the foundation of the ages. We do not recognize a difference between Jew and Gentile in this age, but that distinction will be relevant when the Kingdom comes back into view.