That May 2020 Watchtower really simplified how we can look at the Daniel prophesy of the kings of the north and south. I appreciate it for that reason.
I think it can be likened to the ingredients of a sandwich disappearing. When that happens, what’s the point of keeping track of the two slices of bread that enclose it? Such is the case when the weeds swallow up the wheat and the Master says ‘Don’t worry about it—we’ll sort it out at the harvest.’ (Matthew 13:24-30) If the covenant people disappear, why concern oneself about who is the king of the north and south? They vanish, too. This way, you don’t have to trace some tortuous lineage through the centuries that you can get your head around after a fashion, but the moment you turn away it disappears, like your grasp of relativity.
When the covenant people reappear during the harvest—well, we know that they are to be between a rock and a hard place. So look for a rock and a hard place. What could be easier than that? When the harvest season arrives, what two parties during the World Wars hate each other’s guts, and also give the covenant people grief for the same reason, that of neutrality? Easy. This new streamlined method works to everyone’s advantage except for Queen Zenobia (my favorite Bible character, second only to Obi Wan Kenobia), and I have completed my mourning for her.
The second of the study articles made it very clear: “For a government to fill the role of the king of the north or the king of the south, it must do three things: (1) interact directly with God’s people, (2) show by its actions that it is an enemy of Jehovah and his people, and (3) compete with the rival king.”
I noted Trump’s campaign words in Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia?” and how, were that to happen, it would take the prophesy off-script—the two are not supposed to get along. Almost immediately outside forces in the form of the media intervened to ensure that the two kings will not get along—they are to stay on script. Almost from the instant he said it, a Russian collusion narrative emerged to ensure the two kings would remain at loggerheads.
In the course of two weeks, the verses of Daniel 11:25-45 were considered at the meeting. A crash course for anyone not in the know: It is king-of-the-north Germany that opposes the king of the south during both world wars and opposes the covenant people, treating them harshly. With the Allied victory ending WWII, the Soviet Union and later Russia takes over the role of the northern king—pushing & shoving the king of the south and also treating the covenant people harshly, lately to be seen in the banning of their organization and publications, confiscation of their property, and arrests leading to the imprisonment of many.
A nice touch, I thought, was the “little help” rendered at 11:34. Might this be prophetic of the lull in opposition to kingdom preaching from the fall of the Soviet Union to renewed all-out attack on Jehovah’s people in 2017? During this lull, it was not even clear just who the king of the north was. (Davey-the-kid, always quick with a joke, told me it was Bolivia) Jehovah’s Witnesses were the last of all faiths to be legally recognized in 1991 (fall of the Soviet Union) and the first of all faiths (and so far, only) to suffer ban in 2017.
It occurs to me that if the king of the north started being nice to our people he would louse up stipulation 2 of the prophesy, that he must “show by its actions that it is an enemy of Jehovah and his people.” Why doesn’t he do that? There is no better way to discredit Jehovah’s Witnesses than to spectacularly mess up their take on a prophecy. Then we would have to revert back to Davey-the-kid, say it is Bolivia, and look ridiculous.
Well, maybe will happen that way. But it doesn’t seem likely. If Trump couldn’t derail the prophesy, Putin can’t either. It is probably one of those situations of nations being drawn as with hooks in their jaws. They are too determined in a course of their own seeming choice to do any differently.
From paragraph 13 and 14 of the second week’s study:
“A prophecy recorded by Ezekiel gives some insight into what may happen during the last days of the king of the north and the king of the south....it appears that we can expect the following developments....That symbolic hailstorm may take the form... It could be that this message provokes Gog of Magog into attacking God’s people with the intention of wiping them off the earth.” [italics mine]
Joe at the Kingdom Hall, who can always be depended upon for perceptive comments, chimed in about the “wiggle words” that I’ve italicized—it may....it could be...it appears that. Hardly dogmatic, is it? Sure to be missed by Tom Pearlsandswine, that brother who is known for putting the dog into dogmatic! But the words simply indicate that, while we know the final destination, we do not know the precise route to be taken, and the foregoing only indicates the best educated guess at present.
Of course, “educated” in this context means educated in the Bible study of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Despite my “crash course” a few paragraph above, I’ve made no effort to thoroughly explain anything—only the barest outline is offered. It is a little bit like how I have lately been reading Thirty Years that Shook Physics, a 1966 book by George Gamow that stood on my Dad’s bookshelf for 50 years and that I rescued from the estate sale. The preface speaks of “Dr. Gamow’s artistic gift as well as his ability to expand science in the layman’s language.” But as I peruse page after page stuffed with arcane mathematical formulas, I say, “I think they are overestimating his ‘gift.’” It’s not nothing. I’d sooner have him around than Wolfgang Pauli. But he is not exactly Mr. Rogers, and neither have I tried to be with the details of the north and south king.
As to what the final fulfillment will be, and what route it will take, 1 Peter 1:12 says: “Into these very things, angels are desiring to peer.” Are you going to tell them to straighten up and get back to work? No. You won’t stop them. But I like the current sense of couching things that only appear likely in wiggle words. It is a little like how we don’t do anti-types anymore, unless such anti-type is clearly spelled out in the Bible—Jesus’ identification with the Passover lamb, for example. It is enough to say, “this reminds me of that.” What! Is someone going to come along later and say it doesn’t?