PROPPHETS OF CHRISTIANITY
The seventy-year period of desolation of Jerusalem is also associated with the activity of the prophet Ezekiel. God made him "a watchman unto the house of Israel" (Ezekiel 3:16) and entrusted him with a series of prophecies concerning the fate of the chosen people, both under slavery and in the future restoration process. The Bible Students' prophetic movement, therefore, clearly entered into the role of present-day Ezekiel when, from the dawn of Christ's second presence, he began to proclaim the fulfillment of prophecies concerning Israel according to the flesh.
The prophecying upon dry bones (Ezekiel 37:5)
It is probably no coincidence that the birth of the prophet Ezekiel in 642 B.C. is pointing out in time parallelism to the significant year 1878 (2520 – 642 = 1878). It was the year of the end of so called "Double", a turning point in history when God rejected apostate Christianity, Babylon, and condemned it to destruction, and began to restore His favor to the chosen people. As soon as C.T. Russell and his coworkers recognized the fact that the disfavor of "Double" was over, they immediately hurried to send a message of consolation to the Jewish people scattered around the world (Isaiah 40:2).
Thus, they acted as the present-day prophet Ezekiel in the mission of speaking to the "dry bones". Prophecy of Ezekiel 37:1-8 describes the gradual process of transforming scattered dry bones, that is, the Jews plunged into hopelessness, into the organism of a modern state. Interestingly, there is a time parallelism of 2520 years connecting the year 610 B.C. in which the prophet Ezekiel wrote a prophecy about the dethronement of Israel's last king, Zedekiah (Ezekiel 21:24-27), with the year 1910 (2520 – 610 = 1910).
The year 1910 was special in that numerous Jewish congregations have listened then of speeches by C.T. Russell addressed to them. Importantly, they aroused spontaneous applause of these symbolic "dry bones". At New York's Hippodrome Theater, four thousand Jews listened to the speech of the first Christian Zionist, and half a thousand more at London's Royal Albert Hall.
All that Ezekiel prophesied was fulfilled before his eyes. This means that God's people, today’s Ezekiel, spoke in different ways to the scattered Jews, and then watched the whole process for seven decades until the dry bones transformed into the sovereign state of Israel (1947). However, this was only the first stage of prophesying, because from God’s point of view this newly formed collective organism did not yet have the life in itself, it was still far from harmony with Him, "there was no breath in them" (verse 8).
Events fully confirmed that the Bible Students had correctly interpreted the prophecy about dry bones. This proves that their faith in God and His Word has been rewarded with the privilege to be the antitypical Ezekiel, announcing to the world Divine plans for the chosen people. What, however, convinced the Bible students that the time was right to come forward with a message of consolation to the chosen people? (Isaiah 40:1,2).
The obvious basis for such proper understanding was the recognition of the fact of the second coming of Jesus Christ (1874). The Lord knocked at the door of the hearts of the faithful awaiting His coming, and when they opened for Him, He, as "Bright and morning star" had enlightened their minds with the knowledge of God's Plan with its times and seasons (Revelation 3:20, 22:16; 2 Peter 1:19). The Bible students of the time understood that the "blindness" of the chosen people, though two thousand years long, would eventually pass away, and the restoration of that nation back into God's favor would lift whole mankind "from the dead to life." (Romans 11:25,15).
Moreover, a correct understanding of the chronology of six thousand years from Adam pointed precisely both to the beginning of the Lord's Second Presence (1874) and to the end of the disfavor of so called "Double" (1878). Thus, all the conditions were met to announce this wonderful news to Israel according to the flesh as well as to all Christianity.
The prophecying unto the spirit (Ezekiel 37:9)
These principles also underpin the divine authority of present-day Ezekiel to prophecying a second time, this time authority to prophecying directed to the spirit (Heb. ruach). Altough the content of the teaching of restoration of the chosen people and their role in the coming Kingdom of God were still the same, however God's light was still to be awaited regarding the time Jews would receive their spirit of life. The understanding of that time came then when the Lamb opened the seventh seal (1967; Revelation 8:1). The coming year 1977 was indicated then as the expected date of a fundamental change in the course of the experiences of both spiritual Israel, or the Church, and Israel according to the flesh.
The spirit that animated the "dead body" of the people of Israel was to come from the four winds. If the winds are blowing from four sides at the same time, it must cause a huge hurricane, a whirlwind. Such a presentation suggests a whirl of violent events that were to make the final changes at the political scene.
The circumstances of the emergence of universal powers, the successive occupiers of Israel, are presented by Daniel's vision of the [human] sea, which was stirred up by the four winds [of human passions, probably stirred up not without the participation of demons]. The fifth universal world power, after Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, will be the everlasting Kingdom of God on earth. Numerous places in the Scriptures indicate that the establishment of this kingdom was also to be preceded by the great storm of history, the Great Tribulation.
The vision of Revelation (7:1-3) shows four angels holding the four winds of the earth. In these angels, or messengers, the communist movement is depicted, to which God has assigned the task of turning the present devilish order of the world into ruin. The work of final destruction, however, could not have taken place until the process of sealing the foreheads of the members of the Little Flock still on earth had been completed undisturbed. The four angels were thus commanded to keep the symbolic winds tethered by that time, that is, to keep all extremes, secular and religious, under control. This breakthrough time turned out to be 1977, indicated as the date of the end of the High Calling.
In other words, the second prophecying, now to the spirit, no longer to the bones, was to announce this year as the divinely revealed date of the breakthrough, from which events would begin to accelerate and by the hurricane of the "four winds" draw the world into a whirl of the Great Tribulation; with two different effects on both houses of Israel.
From 1977 onwards, the class of spiritual Israel was to decrease steadily until it will disappear altogether. Its last members, henceforth recalled from the earth, were to be changed into heavenly glory at the moment of death.
From the same year onwards, experiences of Israel according to the flesh were to be more and more turbulent until the critical breakthrough, or the Gog’s invasion. The miraculous salvation of Israel from that future trouble, of a truly existential threat for this nation, will result in "pouring upon the house of David the spirit of grace and of supplications", national crying, recognition of the Messiah in Jesus of Nazareth (Zechariah 12:10). The chosen people without spirit will become living Israel.
The prophecying against Gog
Present-day Ezekiel also had the task of exposing the biblical Gog and warning him of the consequences of the planned by him invasion of Israel. The prophet was instructed as follows: "Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him" (Ezekiel 38:2).
In order to "set our face against Gog," we must first off all recognize this Gog. There have been many and many different assumptions as to who would be responsible for the last "Jacob’s trouble" (Jeremiah 30: 7). If, however, God's people are to be the Lord's prophet used in Ezekiel's mission, then he cannot merely suppose or guess. He must be sure who he is prophecying about. However, it was not possible to identify the figure of Gog until the seventh seal was opened.
When the latter seal was opened (1967), it turned out that Gog is not an individual, nor is it a state (for example Russia, as some suppose), but an ideological system. This issue is explained by the vision of the trumpeting of the seven angels (Revelation 8:2). It points to the communist movement as the Lord's tool to overthrow the present world order. The propagators of this idea were presented in the form of destructive locusts, and the Bolshevik Party commanding them, in the form of king Abaddon (9:3-11).
The Marxists, of course, could not have known that their revolutionary zeal would be used by God for His own purpose, that is the destroying of the devilsh world. Unconsciously, however they carry out this divine plan.
As for the communists' own goal, that is, to build a just world on the ruins of the old, they themselves began eventually to doubt that they would it achieve. In this situation, they were left with a vivid memory of the unprecedented sacrifices they suffered to achieve this utopian goal, and with the awareness of the complete failure of the efforts they had constantly repeated. This filled the heirs of this idea with immense, enduring bitterness and made the hitherto lofty principles replaced by the desire for vengeance on triumphant enemies at any cost and in every possible way. The ideological king Abaddon began to transform into a possessive plunderer, Gog.
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Recent years have shown that after the US withdrew from the Middle East, the Russians became masters of the situation in this region. They have their naval and air bases in Syria, as well as various military facilities, and are constantly increasing their shock power. As a result, they became a direct neighbor of Israel from the north and in there they decide about everything. They have a close relationship with Israel's mortal enemies, Iran, former Persia, and the Hezbollah group, also acting in this region.
Already more than two and a half thousand years ago, the Lord God informed through the prophet Ezekiel what this prince "from the north parts" would think about when he "in the latters years" would head towards the "mountains of Israel".
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How will Russia’s poor Ukraine showing ripple in the Middle East?
DIPLOMATIC AFFAIRS: Everyone is wondering what has happened to the vaunted Russian army. What has happened to Moscow’s military might?
By HERB KEINON
Published: SEPTEMBER 16, 2022 15:30
"...There is, however, another way for Russia to make its presence felt throughout the region, and that is something Jerusalem very much doesn’t want to see: using its base in Syria, as well as a presence it still maintains in Libya, to be a disruptive force in the region. If Putin fails miserably in Ukraine, he may be tempted to take revenge on the West by harming its interests, sowing instability, and disrupting the world order elsewhere – first and foremost in the Middle East."
JOHN THE BAPTIST REPROVED KING HEROD ANTIPAS
Leader of the first prophecy movement in the USA, C.T. Russell saw the last mission of the Church, that is, the antitypical John the Baptist in the following manner:
"If it be a type, Herod would represent civil government, and the unlawful wife would represent the nominal church, which throughout the symbolic Scriptures is represented as a woman, Jezebel, etc. Should it prove to be a type by its fulfillment in antitype, the fulfilment will probably be on something like the following lines:
(1) A partial reunion of Church and State. (This seems to be now in process of development.)
(2) In such case it would become the duty of the true Church, the forerunners and announcers of the Messianic Kingdom, to reprove the civil powers as well as the nominal church systems, and to declare their union unlawful – contrary to the Word of God.
(3) The effect of this would pretty surely be to awaken the animosity of both civil and religious powers; but it would draw out specially the animosity and venom of the latter.
(4) The church nominal, in her false position would be anxious to stifle the reproofs and to destroy the reprovers, and the effect would be that the civil power would be induced to pass such legislation as would restrain the liberty of the faithful ones and hinder them from public utterances; – as John was hindered by imprisonment.
(5) Jezebel's personal influence being insufficient may subsequently be augmented by the influence of her daughter (united Protestantism) who will be so fully in sympathy with her as to become her tool in the destruction of the most loyal servants of God."
Article "John the Baptist and his murderers" W.T. 1898; R-2279
John the Baptist became the greatest of the prophets because he was honored to announce the first coming of our Lord and to indicate Him personally. Antitype of John Baptist at the dawn of the seventh thousand years of world history, was God’s people, who was given privilege to announce the second presence of Jesus Christ (from 1874).
Remarks from the previous articles
The adulterous Herodias presents the Roman Catholic Church. This queen of the past abandoned Herod Philip I to marry his brother Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, a more promising ruler. A similar political move was made by the Roman Church in the face of waning prospects in the Western countries, where liberalization and the pursuit of money destroyed religiosity and emptied the churches. The situation in this respect was completely different in the countries of Eastern Europe, and therefore the papacy directed its political activity in this direction.
Until recently, The Roman Catholic Church fiercely fought socialism, but now apparently came to her reflection that further struggle with the idea of social equality could cause her more losses than gains; for this idea has taken root quite firmly in the hearts and minds of people. In this situation cardinal Agostino Casaroli became the architect of the new eastern policy of the Vatican. Thanks to this, he gained the nickname: "Cardinal Perestroika". He was a special envoy of John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II for diplomatic talks with the countries of the Soviet camp. The purpose of these talks was to find a way to coexist without discrimination on the basis of the religion of persons and institutions.
Herod the Tetrarch Antipas presents the communist camp in a period of ideological collapse. The biblical concordance translates the name Herod as "the son of a hero," which undoubtedly aptly characterizes the heroic past of communist propagators who challenged the whole world. The title Tetrarch, i.e. ruling over the fourth part, refers to the state of ownership of the socialist camp after World War II, when it took control of 26% territory and about 35% world population (see Encyclopedia). The name Antipas (meaning anti-father) defines the position of the leaders of the declining phase of communism who betrayed the revolutionary fathers Marx, Lenin and others by establishing cooperation with the clergy.
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Herod's feast on the occasion of his birthday represents the peak phase of the changed course of the communist authorities, lasting from the autumn of 1977 to the spring of 1981. The round anniversary of the "birth" od socialist camp was the Sixtieth Anniversary of the October Revolution. The propaganda holiday was started by the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, delivering exalted speeches from the Kremlin. He praised the achievements of the 60th anniversary of socialism and in appeals to the world he recommended this idea as a glue uniting nations in peaceful cooperation, regardless of skin color, race, nation or religion.
A special event of the 60th anniversary was the arrival in Moscow (1977) for a solemn congress of the Federation of Protestant Churches (Salome) to lend support to presented idea. The Roman Catholic Church, an extremely important factor in that political game (Herodias), remained in the shadows. More attractive in the eyes of the socialist authorities were the churches and a various denominations of Protestantism. They were small but numerous, politically fresh, and their representatives represented greater sincerity and submission. Not in her first youth mother, Herodias, preferred not to count on her allure in the realization of bloody plans, but to be sure she decided to rely on the beauty and youth of her daughter Salome.
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The prophet John the Baptist represents the prophetic movement of Bible Students that has came to being in the United States as a result of the understanding that since 1874 there took place a second invisible presence of Jesus Christ. For four decades of its activity neither the founder of the movement, C.T. Russell, nor his associates did not come into any conflict with the authorities. Although Brother Russell saw the first courtship between secular and religious power, there however was no real basis for rebuking the authorities for political fornication. For at that time, there was no king "Herod Antipas the Tetrarch" whose appearance on the political scene became possible only as a result of events of the First and the Second World Wars.
As a result of these wars, a socialist powers seized countries of the east Europe, mostly of them being Catholic as for instance Poland. The Bolsheviks dealt with the Orthodox clergy, being especially ignorant and superstitious, very quickly, but in Catholic countries they did not go so easily. Socialistic powers, in principle atheistic and opposed to the Catholic Church, were forced to take into account in their policies more and more the great influence of this church on the consciences of people. And because they wanted to continue to rule, they decided at last to make an ideological compromise and have the clergy on their side.
It was then that the flirtation of the socialist authorities, of "Herod Antipas" with the Roman Catholic Church, that is "Herodias" began. Only the followers of Jesus Christ under these socialist governments (nowhere else) could clearly see this fact. No wonder, therefore that in Catholic Poland the Lord called on the present-day John the Baptist to appear before "Herod". However, it should be emphasized with all force that it was the Truth in due time that drew the attention of God's people in Poland to this sign of the times. Moreover, the same Truth in various ways authorized them to assume for themselves the responsibility as the today's John the Baptist and then to react appropriately to political fornication of socialist and religious powers.
The prophetic significance of the Truth imparted in due time was clear: from the fall of 1977 to the spring of 1981, political, secular and religious forces will unite in a common effort to save the world from destruction. It will be by God damned political fornication, therefore the duty of God's people is to proclaim that that cooperation would burst like a soap bubble, and the world would begin to engulf in anarchist turmoil.
The same Truth in due time promised to the Church for the final years of the Gospel Age was presented in a vision of Revelation as "a little open book" which the Angel handed to John, commanded him to "eat" and said: "Thou must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings" (Revelation 10:2,9-11). What was the fulfillment of this vision like? Thanks to Divine Providence, in April 1974, the book "Biblical Chronology" was published in Poland ("a little open book") which was offered to the classes of churches belonging to the Association of the Free Bible Students in Poland.
The group of individuals interested in "a little book" evolved into a prophetic movement which, in obedience to the voice of the Angel, began to disseminate the teachings contained in it. One of the topics was to publicly demonstrate that observed rapprochement between the communist authorities and the Catholic Church is a spiritual fornication and it will in no way be able to stop the collapse of the old order of things.
No wonder that the authorities decided that such an ominous message could no longer be tolerated. After all, it was disturbing the mood of the "birthday feast" and threatened to break the flirtation of socialistic "Herod" with the Catholic Herodias.
The publication comprising such teachings, submitted in 1977 to the Censorship Office, turned out to be the last, because further issues were banned. Association of the Bible Students Bible, within which the chronological movement developed, began internal repression: thrown the troublesome movement outside of that organisation and scatter its followers. In such a way the voice of "John the Baptist" saying "you mustn't have her" fell silent.
Salome, daughter of Herodias. In the Bible Students literature, Salome is presented as a federation of Protestant churches. The same idea comes from understanding the vision of Revelation, showing the 10-horn red papal beast in its final form (red beast – "Herod" – communist authorities submissive to the Catholic Church), ridden by a great harlot ("Herodias" – Catholic Church) with an inscription on her forehead: "the mother of harlots", that is mother of Protestant daughters (Revelation 17:1-5).
Death of John the Baptist. Finally, there is one important thing to mention. Both the prophetic picture of John the Baptist and the prophecies and visions of Revelation gave reason to believe that the last members of the Church would die a violent death at the hands of the cooperating secular and church authorities. For this reason, most of the supporters of the chronological movement had this expectation and expressed it in publications and in verbal statements. For those who watched the movement from the sidelines, the expected removal of the Church in just this way became a credibility test of this entire prophetic movement. When such a bloody end did not come, all preached prophecies was declared in general a fiasco.
However, looking back requires reflection. After all, the political events mentioned above, which were to accompany the removal of the Church from the earth, were expected ahead of time (from the mid-1960s). Is it a coincidence, then, that within a strictly defined timeframe for prophesying "two witnesses" (Revelation 11:3) for 1,260 days (Fall 1977 to Spring 1981), there took please collaboration between two political giants, secular and religious? On the political scene, the desire to bring both sides closer was clearly visible at that time; on the one side there was a weakening socialism, desperate seeking a rescue in the long-discredited alliance of "throne and altar", and on the other side, the Roman Catholic Church, which saw a chance for further survival among relatively religious societies in the East.
It goes without saying that such situation will never happen again. The rule of the mighty "Herod" has fallen irretrievably. Nor will the phenomenon of the such triumph papacy, which socialism exalted to incredible popularity be repeated, just because Satan managed to blind the eyes of society so much that it for a short time it stopped looking back at the bloody past of this system.
There is also another verifying factor. More than a hundred years ago, C.T. Russell foretold from the Scriptures that the collapse of socialism would bring anarchy into the world. Today it is visible to the naked eye that the fires of anarchy are engulfing the world. It caught fire on the periphery of Christianity, but are still moving closer to its center. It must be recognized, however, that the actual beginning of anarchy was the crushing of socialism in the 1980/1981s.
Since the avalanche of events rehabilitates the prophetic announcements of the chronological movement, then perhaps one should not look for a antitype the death of John the Baptist in the form of the bloody medieval massacre of the Lord's followers, but rather see this death impersonally, in the complete triumph of secular and ecclesiastical authorities in the suppression and silencing of the prophetic testimony.
Such reasoning is confirmed by the vision of Revelation 11:7,8, in which the killing of "two witnesses" is compared in somehow to the death of the Lord. At the beginning of the Gospel Age, Jesus Christ himself was killed, and with him all His testimony. Toward the end of this Age, two of His representatives, that is the prophetic testimonies of the Old and New Testaments, appeared, and in shadow the class of John which sustained that testimony of two witnesses. Therefore, modern killing refers primarily to the suppression of the Truth given in due time. What counts is the "killing" of this Truth in 1981, while the repression of the John class at a result of it is of little importance. The taking into the glory of the individual members of the Little Flock is therefore not shown either in the picture of Elijah, or in the throwing of the three young men into the fire, or in the beheading of John the Baptist.
It should also be added that the Bible Students did not expect such a simultaneous and thus miraculous change of the last members of the Church. It would indeed be a miracle if in Central and Eastern Europe, during a democracy, when the abolition of the death penalty is common, this happened. The Scripture foretold the Church’s members was to "die like other men" (Psalm 82:6,7), that is, individually, without any sensational manifestation. And yet the matter of ending the Church's way is timely, as we see how far the anarchist upheaval around the world is already advanced.
Added by: Andrzej