Sunday, May 19 2024 - 9:01 AM

Sharing Scripture — May 11, 2024

The Two Witnesses

 

For use: May 5 – 11, 2024
Texts: Revelation 11:3-6, 15-18; 12:5-6, 14-15; Zechariah 4:14; Daniel 7:25; Isaiah 54:17; Psalm 119:89

“Justice is supposed to be blind,” reflects defense attorney Lauren Myerscough-Mueller. “The eyewitness is not supposed to be blind.”

Cook County, Illinois prosecutors dropped all murder charges against Myerscough-Mueller’s client Darien Harris after his defense team discovered that Dexter Saffold, the prosecution’s star witness, is legally blind.

Saffold picked Harris out of a police lineup in 2011 as the gunman in a murder. Though the prosecution knew of Saffold’s glaucoma, they never revealed that to Harris’ defense team.

“I didn’t have to tell nobody about my medical history,” Saffold admitted.

In addition to this revelation about the prosecution’s key witness, Harris’ attorney also discovered that the police intimidated another witness by threatening to harm the witness’s newborn baby.

Unfortunately, these revelations came after Harris spent the last 12 ½ years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Over 3,000 people in United States prisons have been exonerated and released due to wrongful convictions. Faulty eyewitness testimonies tainted the majority of these cases. These false identifications are often unintentional—the witness simply misidentified the innocent accused as the perpetrator of the crime. Besides defective eyesight and confused memories, witness tampering and intimidation can also play havoc with the quest for justice.

The reliability of accurate witnesses is crucial to any legal system, human or divine. When it comes to our investigation into the actions and character of God, we regularly go to the Bible to find reliable witness statements. The two witnesses mentioned in Scripture are commonly understood to be the Old and New Testaments (also called the old and new covenants).

Satan tries to counteract the testimony of these witnesses through misinterpretations of their messages, and even brutal intimidation. The ruling authorities during the Dark Ages, both religious and secular, successfully suppressed the testimony of the two witnesses from the general public until the advent of the printing press. At certain times, even the possession of portions of Scripture invoked the death penalty on those who sought to understand and share God’s word with others.

Today we are blessed (at least in this country) with unfettered access to the two witnesses. What a privilege we have to freely read the testimony of Scripture that so many gave their lives to preserve for us.

 

For Reflection

 

Connecting: What was the first Bible you ever owned? Do you feel like you fully appreciated that book at the time?

Sharing: How should we regard the relationship between the two witnesses—the Old Testament and the New Testament?

  1. The old covenant plan of salvation as presented in the Old Testament is faulty, and the New Testament replaces it with the new covenant
  2. The plan of salvation as presented in the Old Testament is incomplete, and the New Testament adds the final pieces to the puzzle
  3. They both accurately present God’s plan of salvation for humanity; they just view the big picture from different angles
  4. The Old Testament sacrificial system is merely a human enactment of the real, heavenly courtroom scene
  5. The Old Testament sacrificial system is a prophetic interpretation of Jesus’ sacrifice as revealed in the New Testament
  6. Other:

Applying: Have you ever read the Bible cover-to-cover? Does the thought of tackling this intimidate you? If this is something you are interested in, you can research various Bible reading programs at sites such as https://biblehub.com or https://www.biblegateway.com. Ask a friend/accountability partner to embark on the journey with you.

Valuing: Take time this week to reflect on the sacrifice so many made to preserve the Scriptures for us. You can find their stories in the books “The Great Controversy” and “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.” Adding this perspective to your Bible study time could help enrich your appreciation of what God does to provide us with the message of salvation.

~ Chuck Burkeen


Your Center for Creative Ministry Team

The Center for Creative Ministry is fully recognized by the North American Division (NAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; it is also a 501c3 nonprofit organization which makes donations tax deductible in the U.S.

 

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