Monthly Archives: January 2020

Anyone listening to the news lately, has realized that the potential for another world war is escalating everyday. It can be frightening to realize that nations who are bent on the destruction of other nations, have nuclear weapons already, or are close to developing them! Yet, in the midst of this world chaos, God’s prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes. Miracles are happening daily, but we won’t recognize them as such, unless we understand what our Heavenly Father has told us to look for. It’s all in the Bible!

How to Accurately Interpret Prophecy

There are a host of Prophecy-related YouTube videos and messages about Bible Prophecy, online. Some are helpful and some are very far-fetched. Here are a few helpful tips in determining how to interpret Bible Prophecy.

The Bible Unlocks Itself

‘Interpretations belong to God,’ said Joseph in Genesis 40:8, in other words, the Bible unlocks itself. To understand prophecies for today, we must decipher the symbols based on prophecies that have been fulfilled in the past. For instance, the book of Daniel is a good place to begin. Daniel 2 records a prophecy of 4 great empires that have come and gone – Babylon, Medes & Persians, Greece, and Rome. This prophecy is easy, as the interpretation follows in chapter 2, and then in chapter 7 & 8 the same prophecy is given about the same 4 empires using beasts to represent them. So we learn from chapters 7 & 8 that ‘beasts’ can represent nations; horns represent powers or kings; ‘Casting down stars’ represents casting down governments, and so on. Understanding the way in which these symbols are used in Daniel 7 & 8 is essential in order to accurately interpret prophetic books like Revelation.

Prophecy is Tightly Bound to the Gospel Message

Bible prophecies are very much related to the hope of the Gospel message. Understanding the true Gospel message – ‘the good news about the kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ’ (Acts 8:12), helps us to understand the purpose of prophecy, the focus of prophecy, and see the ‘bigger picture’ – what God plans to do with this earth. Without the understanding that all nations will be blessed through Abraham and his most important descendant Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:8,16,27-29; Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:18-21; 17:7-8; 22:15-18; Acts 1:6; 28:20), many creative but false interpretations of prophecy can occur.

Bible Prophecy – Given to Strengthen Our Faith

Bible prophecy gives indisputable evidence that the Bible has been Divinely inspired. What other book has accurately predicted the future, thousands of years in advance? Numerous prophecies have been fulfilled in accurate detail, time and again. For example: the nation of Babylon, Egypt, Tyre, Assyria, and in our day Britain and Brexit, and the re-establishment of the nation of Israel. The Prophecy Handout covers some of these accurate fulfillments.

Bible Prophecy – Warning of God’s Intervention

God has also provided Bible prophecy to give ample warning of His interventions in world affairs. There are several examples in the Old Testament where God warned various nations of his coming judgements, giving them ample time to change their ways and seek His plan. 

The ‘last days’ – our time – is the focus of some key prophecies which involve the nations of the world – Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth, Russia and the Northern forces, and Israel.

The Nation of Israel

One very exciting prophecy for our day can be found in Ezekiel 36-39. The first two chapters speak of the incredible regathering of the Jewish people from all nations to which they had been scattered. God promises to return the Jews to their land, make them a nation again, and specifically speaks of giving them the ‘mountains of Israel’ – the disputed ‘West Bank’. In the last century we have been watching this occur!! It is miraculous that a prophecy given over 2500 years ago can accurately be fulfilled in our day against much opposition and impossible circumstances every step of the way. 

A Northern Invasion

However, in Ezekiel 38, God warns that when the newly formed nation of Israel is ‘at rest,’ and the people ‘dwell safely’, a Northern alliance of nations (Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, Turkey and Europe) will sweep down to invade Israel and Egypt, against the ineffective opposition of Britain, America, Commonwealth countries and their Arab allies. Only God’s intervention will stop this destructive onslaught.

Comparing Ezekiel’s prophecy with Daniel 11:40-45, Zechariah 14, and Joel 3, we see that God’s intervention to save Israel is tied in to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to reign on this earth! However, not everyone will recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, some will even view him as Antichrist, and this is detailed in the Prophecy Handout below.

Bible Presentation, Handout and Other Links

Recently, we have put together an audio presentation and Prophecy Handout on this subject, where we consider the various ‘code names’ that are used in Ezekiel 38 and what nations they relate to today. We discuss what is left to occur in the prophecy, how this impacts our world, and how it will bring about God’s plan and promise of His Son reigning as King on this earth.

The attached AUDIO presentation and an 11- page Prophecy Handout have been put together with help from Jonathan Bowen, THE BIBLE IN THE NEWS, and Peter Owen.  

We have also included a handout – “Israel – A Miracle Before our Eyes” which lists 12 events that were prophesied in the Bible concerning the Jewish people and have been fulfilled in the last 2000 years. This handout also includes 9 prophecies left to be fulfilled! Stay alert – these will be future headlines in the News!

To answer this question, Jesus said, “‘Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Therefore the Jews said: ‘This temple was built in forty-six years and will you raise it up in three days? But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples called to mind that he used to say this; and they believed the Scripture and the saying that Jesus said.’” (John 2:19-22 NWT 1984 Edition)

Despite this simple statement by Jesus himself, that the ‘temple of his body’ would be raised, the Watchtower Society insists that Jesus’ body was not raised from the dead. Instead, they say he was raised as an ‘invisible spirit creature’. 

This passage presents a serious problem for the Watchtower Society as is evidenced in the fact that it is very difficult to find an explanation for John 2:19-22 in all the volumes of their published literature. In addition to this, when asked, ‘What happened to the dead body of Jesus?’, they reply that ‘they do not know.’ It has been suggested by the Watchtower Organization that ‘possibly his body was dissolved into gases’ or ‘preserved as a grand memorial’ of Jesus’ loving sacrifice.

The Watchtower derides the idea that Jesus’ body could have been raised, as is demonstrated in the following quotes, published in the W.T. 73 6/1, pg. 350:

“Could you believe that Jesus Christ, the majestic King of the new world, made higher than all other creatures, would remain in a body of flesh? He would be inferior to a spirit, and far too limited to accomplish the marvelous things required of such a king, among them the destroying of the mighty spirit person, Satan the Devil.”

“A human body requires earthly elements for its continued existence. It is made for the earth and must subsist upon the things produced from the earth.”

However, is this a fair representation of resurrection to immortality? If a body is resurrected from the dead – do the Scriptures say that it remains mortal? We will examine this in more depth.

King David’s Prophecy

King David prophesied of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the Psalms. Psalm 16:9 says, “Therefore my heart does rejoice…Also, my flesh [‘basar’ – ‘flesh, by extension body’] will reside in security. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol. You will not allow your loyal one to see the pit.” (NWT 1984 Edition)

“So my heart rejoices, my whole being is joyful. And I reside in security. For you will not leave me in the Grave. You will not allow your loyal one to see the pit.” (NWT 2013 Edition)

We know that this Psalm is an actual prophecy about Jesus Christ, as the Apostle Peter quotes this passage in Acts 2:25-27, saying, “On this account my heart became cheerful and my tongue rejoiced greatly. Moreover even my flesh will reside in hope; because you will not leave my soul in Hades neither will you allow your loyal one to see corruption.” (NWT 1984 Edition)

“On this account my heart became cheerful and my tongue rejoiced greatly. And I will reside in hope; because you will not leave me in the Grave, nor will you allow your loyal one to see corruption.” (NWT 2013 Edition)

Both David and the Apostle Peter plainly state that the reason why Jesus’ flesh could ‘reside in hope’. Peter says, “because you will not leave me in the Grave.” David says, “For you will not leave me in the Grave.”

This prophecy is so clear, even the Watchtower admits that David believed and predicted a bodily resurrection of Jesus. 

A Spiritual Body?

Believing that Jesus was resurrected bodily, does not negate that he was ‘put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.’ 1 Peter 3:18. It does not contradict 1 Corinthians 15:44, “It is sown a physical body; it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one.” Because as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:53, “For this which is corruptible must PUT ON incorruption, and this which is mortal must PUT ON immortality.”

1 Corinthians 15 is presented by the Watchtower as absolute proof that this is describing a resurrection whereby the actual body is not raised, but remains dead. They say that the individual is raised as an ‘invisible spirit creature’ based on certain statements made by the Apostle Paul in verses 40, 44 and 50: “And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly bodies is one sort, and that of the earthly bodies is a different sort… It is sown a physical body; it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one… But I tell you this, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, nor does corruption inherit incorruption.”

Yet, the Apostle Paul has based his arguments in 1 Corinthians 15 upon the inspired words of two Hebrew prophets, Isaiah and Hosea, both of which are cross-referenced in the NWT. After finishing his description, the Apostle Paul makes this statement in verse 54, “But when this which is corruptible puts on incorruption and this which is mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: ‘Death is swallowed up forever.’”

Isaiah’s Prophecy

What is this ‘saying’, that was written, which Paul refers to here? It is this direct quote from Isaiah 25:8, which the Watchtower acknowledges in their own cross-reference. Isaiah 25:8 reads, “He will swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces….” 

Paul himself, in quoting Isaiah 25:8, says that the resurrection that will take place is a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. When Isaiah penned these words, was he foretelling a non-bodily resurrection from the dead? There is no doubt that when Isaiah says, “He will swallow up death forever”, he himself believed that those who were privileged to experience resurrection to immortality would no longer face death. Isaiah’s prophecy continues on to the next chapter, where he says in Isaiah 26:19, “Your dead will live. My corpses will rise up. Awake and shout joyfully, you residents in the dust! For your dew is as the dew of the morning, and the earth will let those powerless in death come to life.” Isaiah is describing bodily resurrection where ‘death is swallowed up forever’, precisely what Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 15. 

Isaiah 26:19 demonstrates that a ‘corpse’ will rise up and be changed. The ‘corpse’ will ‘PUT on immortality’ as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:53. This is language describing an actual change to the body, not the disposal of the body. Paul says the same thing in Romans 8:11, “If, now, the spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will ALSO make YOUR MORTAL BODIES alive through his spirit that resides in you.”

What Happens to Mortal Bodies?

What is the outcome, according to Paul, of the ‘mortal bodies’ of the believers in Rome? Are they disposed of, or changed? Romans 8:11 clearly says that your mortal bodies will be made alive.

Notice how the Watchtower translates verse 23 of Romans 8. “Not only that… while we are earnestly waiting for adoption as sons, the release from our bodies by ransom.” (NWT 2013)

Such a translation conveys the idea that the adopted sons will be separated from the body as ‘invisible spirit creatures’. This would put Romans 8:11, quoted above, in opposition to verse 23, and thus these verses would contradict one another. 

In the Watchtower’s own Kingdom Interlinear, the word-for-word Greek reads, “the release by ransom OF the body”, which doesn’t contradict Romans 8:11. Indeed, when granted immortality, the body is ‘released’ from the bondage of sin that it now experiences. The fact the Watchtower finds it necessary in Romans 8:23 to choose the word ‘from’, as opposed to ‘of’, demonstrates they sense the weakness of their argument.

Other translations appropriately translate verse 23, in support of verse 11, as follows:

“as we wait for our bodies to be set free” Jerusalem Bible

“we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies” NRSV

“we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” KJV

“the redemption of our bodies” NIV

“the redemption of our body” NKJV

As we’ve seen, Paul quotes Isaiah 25:8, “then the saying that is written will take place: Death is swallowed up forever,” as the basis of his treatise concerning resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Isaiah then goes on to predict a bodily resurrection in Isaiah 26:19. Paul assures us in Romans 8:11, that “the one who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will ALSO make your mortal bodies alive through his spirit…” So why would this same Apostle say something completely different in Romans 8:23? 

The majority of other Bible translations support the prophecy of Isaiah, by saying the the ‘body’ will be ‘redeemed’, not ‘disposed of’ – as the NWT attempts to convey in its unique translation of this passage.

Why was Jesus Not Recognized in Luke 24?

Yet, the Watchtower will say that Jesus was not recognized by his disciples after he was raised. This, they will say, is proof that he was not raised bodily. Instead, the Watchtower claims that Jesus appeared, or ‘materialized’ in different bodies, simply to show that he was alive. An oft-cited example, is Luke 24:15-16, “Now as they were conversing and discussing these things, Jesus himself approached and began walking with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (NWT 2013)

In verse 16 of this chapter we are told why they did not recognize him – “but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” We are not told that they didn’t recognize him because he was in a different body. Yet, if Jesus had ‘materialized’ in the same body would this not have been the best proof of his resurrection? The fact that the disciples’ eyes were ‘kept’ from recognizing him, shows that God had a reason for doing this. 

So, we see that 1 Corinthians 15 is in perfect harmony with John 2:19-22, Romans 8:11, 23, Psalm 16:9-10, and Isaiah 26:19. The language of 1 Corinthians 15:50 describes a change to the body, not the disposal of the body. Both David and Isaiah were inspired prophets. The Watchtower admits that they both believed in a bodily resurrection. They knew nothing of a so-called ‘heavenly resurrection’ as described by the Watchtower society. Were these inspired prophets of the Old Testament in error? 

Further demonstrating that the resurrected Jesus is not an ‘invisible spirit creature’ that ‘sacrificed his perfect human life’ are the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures concerning his identity. 

He is the seed of Abraham –  Genesis 13:15 and Galatians 3:16

He is the offspring of David –  2 Samuel 7:12 and Acts 2:30

He is the lion of the tribe of Judah – Genesis 49:9-10; Revelation 5:5

After his resurrection, Jesus’ identity did not change. How for example is an ‘invisible spirit creature’ – namely, Michael the Archangel, a descendant of Abraham? Or of the tribe of Judah? Or the offspring of David?

Nowhere in the New Testament, do the Christian writers change the identity of Jesus their Messiah. What has changed – is his nature. Romans 6:9: “For we know that Christ , now that he has been raised up from the dead, dies no more; death is no longer master over him.” Jesus’ body has been clothed with immortality. He now partakes of God’s nature.

We appeal to all Jehovah’s witnesses to examine the arguments presented here and especially the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:5-6:  “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus. Who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all…” At the very end of Revelation the identity of Jesus is still the same as it has always has been.  In chapter 22:16, the immortal Jesus says of himself, “I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you about these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David and the bright morning star.” 

We welcome all comments and questions,

Norm Smith

reinodejesus@aol.com