Questions From Readers
● Concerning the eating of animal flesh after Armageddon, would not that be determined by the everlasting covenant Jehovah made with Noah after the Flood, rather than by the edict given to Adam in Eden?—C. N., Texas.
If man does eat flesh after Armageddon, the terms of the Noachian covenant will apply. Its regulations regarding the disposal of the blood of animals killed for food will last as long as the practice of eating such flesh lasts. In considering a related question in this section in its issue of October 15, 1950, The Watchtower said concerning animals in the new world: “It appears that men will not kill them for food.” The statement is not dogmatic, but goes on to show that it is reasonable to expect Jehovah’s original purpose relative to food supply, as given in Eden before man’s fall, will be ultimately realized in the new world.—Gen. 1:29, 30, AT.
The covenant with Noah allowing animal food merely made provision for extra food, highly concentrated, for deteriorating mankind. This provision also made way for post-Flood sacrifices to be made of which the sacrificers could eat part of the flesh, such as the Passover lamb and other sacrifices in Israel. It also laid the foundation for Jesus to speak about his followers’ eating his flesh and drinking his blood, to gain life in themselves. But such provisions were not originally made for the perfect man and woman, and there would appear no absolute need for mankind uplifted to perfection to include animal flesh in his diet. Just how soon after Armageddon any elimination of meat from man’s diet might take place we cannot say.
● Why does the Emphatic Diaglott Bible version, in its footnote on 1 John 5:7, say that the words “For there are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the holy Spirit, and these three are one” are not found in any Greek manuscript earlier than the fifth century, when the evidence is that these words did not appear in any Greek manuscript earlier than the fifteenth century?—J. L., Scotland.
The Emphatic Diaglott footnote on 1 John 5:7 slipped up on its quotation from Newcome’s translation (1808), in which the footnote reads: “This text concerning the heavenly witnesses is not contained in any Greek manuscript which was written earlier than the fifteenth century. . . . It is first cited by Vigilius Tapsensis, a Latin writer of no credit, in the latter end of the fifth century, and by him it is suspected to have been forged.”
● In the new legal booklet Defending and Legally Establishing the Good News it is stated that there is no Scriptural objection to taking an oath to testify to the truth. What about Jesus’ words at Matthew 5:33-37 and the disciple James’ words at James 5:12 telling Christians to “swear not at all”?—E. H., England.
The scriptures at Matthew 5:33-37 and James 5:12 do not refer to going under oath in a law court. These admonitions against swearing were against the practice of that time of using an oath on inappropriate occasions to make one’s speech emphatic so as to be more believed by the hearer and also to boast of one’s own reliability; so they swore by one’s beard, or by heaven, or by earth, and other things that really added no strength to what was said or averred.
But faithful servants of God are recorded as swearing on solemn occasions. Abraham lifted up his hand in swearing to a certain course. (Gen. 14:2-24) Did what he said on this occasion beyond yes and no “come of evil”? When the high priest said to Jesus before the Sanhedrin, “By the living God I put you under oath to tell us whether you are the Christ the Son of God!” Jesus responded. (Matt. 26:63, 64, NW) Also the apostle Paul does not speak derogatorily of oaths taken on proper occasions, as in court, but says: “For men swear by the one greater, and their oath is the end of every dispute, as it is a legal guarantee to them. In this manner God, when he purposed to demonstrate more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his counsel, stepped in with an oath, in order that, through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to the refuge may have strong encouragement to lay hold on the hope set before us.” (Heb. 6:16-18, NW) Since God is always true and reliable, why did he act like men in court and give an oath in confirmation of what he had told Abraham? Certainly his oath did not “come of evil”.
However, we leave it to each one’s conscience as to whether to swear in court or before a notary or elsewhere or merely to affirm. In the booklet Defending and Legally Establishing the Good News we give our position on the matter, so that any looking to us for advice may know we do not oppose such swearing in court.