The Jewish People are Jehovah’s Witnesses?
The name, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Witnesses of Jehovah, however else used, is a scriptural concept. But to whom did the Lord give this title? Has the Lord instructed Christians to be witnesses for Jehovah, or witnesses for Jesus? There is not a single New Testament scripture that calls Christians the witnesses of Jehovah. On the other hand, the New Testament commissions Christians to be the ‘witnesses of Jesus’ (Acts 1:8; Revelation 20:4) and the ‘ambassadors of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:20). The commission given to Christians by Jesus was that they should be his witnesses in all the world by preaching the Gospel (Matthew 24:14).
But the Jewish people witnessed for Jehovah in a different way. It was not because Israel preached God’s Word that they were called His ‘witnesses.’ Rather, it was because God revealed His glory to others by the miraculous manner in which he dealt with them.
In three instances in the Old Testament God said to Israel, ‘Ye are my witnesses.’ These three times are to be found in Isaiah 43 and 44. In these two chapters, Isaiah establishes five historic facts concerning who are the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah.
The ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah… Were delivered from the land of Egypt (Isaiah 43:3) Offered animal sacrifices to the Lord (Isaiah 43:23) transgressed the Law Covenant (Isaiah 43:24,25) Are forgiven for the Lord’s sake (Isaiah 43:25) Are being regathered from all over the world to the Holy Land (Isaiah 43:5,6) These five stated identifications are true only of one people, the Jews! Therefore, it is clear that the Jewish people, the ‘ancient people,’ ‘my chosen’, are the real ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah (Isaiah 44:7; 43:20).
But in case anyone concludes that the Jews have long since forfeited this title, the last scriptural assertion concerning the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah was a prophecy that is only now in the process of fulfillment. The Jewish people are being regathered from all over the world to the Land of Israel. Their regathering has been motivated not only by religious fervor, as some might have expected, but this does not matter. The Bible reveals that after the Jews are regathered in their Land, then the Lord will bring them through experiences that will gradually increase their faith and enkindle a true religious vitality that will reach their ‘inward parts’ and fit them for their special role in God’s Kingdom on earth (Isaiah 2:1- 4).
How Are the Jewish People the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah? The Jewish people are the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah from two standpoints. First,God has revealed His power and glory by the miraculous manner in which He has dealt with them (Isaiah 43:9- 12). God delivered them from Egypt, led them through the Red Sea, sustained them in the wilderness, led them through the River Jordan, gave them the land of Canaan, and made them a nation. During their chastening and dispersion, the phenomenal preservation of the people of Israel over the centuries as a distinct and homogeneous people among nations is itself a miracle of history. They have left blood- stained footprints of martyrdom in every nation they have trod. Neither persecution, nor famine, nor any other force was able to cause them to be assimilated. However, after 2,000 years, contrary to every pattern of history, they are re- established in their homeland, an independent nation. Surely the Lord’s power and glory has been witnessed through this people!
The second way they are the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah is how their history proves the validity of God’s Word- the Bible. Every detail of their history has been prophesied and fulfilled…or is in the process of fulfillment. Their original establishment as a nation, their destruction as a nation and dispersion as a people, their regathering, the circumstances of their regathering, their future role, all were prophesied in the Bible. All this detailed fulfillment is an extraordinary witness to the immutability of God’s Word. Therefore, these arethe reasons why the Lord has said of the Jewish People, ‘YE ARE MY WITNESSES, SAITH JEHOVAH.’ Promises to Christians, and to the Jewish People The ‘JWs’ today, like other replacement, theology- believing Christians, do not see any special future for the Jews.
However, ‘from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable’ (Romans 11:28,29 NAS). Since God promised that the Seed of Abraham would inherit the Land and bless all the families of the earth out of Jerusalem (Genesis 22:18,19; Jeremiah 32:41; Isaiah 2:2,3), what right have any Christians to annul this promise? These blessings were never forfeited. These promises are ‘forever’ (Amos 9:14,15). If we say God has cancelled his promises to the children of Israel, what confidence can we have in His promises to us as Christians?