Questions From Readers
● In the October 15, 1950, Watchtower the article “Be Fruitful, Multiply, Fill the Earth” said the resurrected multitudes would not share in the divine mandate to marry and bring forth children, and cited Matthew 22:30 as proof. The book “The Truth Shall Make You Free”, pages 362-364, states that it is reasonable that “other sheep” dying before Armageddon will have an early resurrection and share in the divine mandate, adding that such will not be contrary to Matthew 22:30. Which is correct?—R. K., New York.
We still hold to both statements, and say that there is no contradiction between them. The Watchtower stated that the resurrection of the dead would not constitute a fulfilling of the divine mandate, and that the “resurrected multitudes” would not marry and reproduce, citing Matthew 22:30 as proof, which states: “In the resurrection neither do they marry nor are they given in marriage.” (NW) The setting of this text shows that it is speaking of the resurrection of mankind, wherein multitudes will be raised from the dead. It was these multitudes that The Watchtower had in mind when it spoke of “resurrected multitudes”. We do not expect multitudes of the “other sheep” class to die prior to or during Armageddon, but expect them as a class to survive Armageddon and comprise a “great multitude” or “great crowd”. (Rev. 7:9, 10, NW) Hence they were not the ones under discussion when The Watchtower of last October 15 spoke of the resurrected multitudes not sharing in the divine mandate.
However, when “The Truth Shall Make You Free” spoke of resurrected ones reasonably sharing in the divine mandate it did have in mind those of the “other sheep” class that might die before or during Armageddon, and it quoted John 5:27-29 (AS) to show that these who had “done good” would have an early “resurrection of life” like the faithful witnesses and prophets of ancient time, and would not have to await mankind’s later “resurrection of judgment”. And since it is to this later resurrection that Matthew 22:30 applies, “The Truth Shall Make You Free” properly pointed out that this text did not apply to those of the “other sheep”.
So there has been no change in our position on this matter. “The Truth Shall Make You Free” raises the question concerning those of the Lord’s “other sheep” who die before Armageddon: “Will these have a part in the carrying out of the divine mandate in the new world?” It then answers: “It suggests itself as reasonable that, God having held this hope before them, and they having died faithful and blameless to him, he would not deny them the privilege of the divine mandate.” Please note that this is given as merely a kindly suggestion. As far as we yet know, the Scriptures are not definite upon the matter, and so the answer is mainly speculative, but with some agreement with principles involved. We can still entertain this suggestion, but keeping in mind that it is just a kindly suggestion. We may be sure that what God has in store for those other sheep finishing their course faithfully in this world before Armageddon will not disappoint them, but will be perfectly satisfying to them and in full accord with his righteousness. There is no need to worry or waste anxious thought over it now.
● When Jesus spoke of a camel going through a needle’s eye, did he mean a literal needle’s eye, or did the expression refer to a little gate in one of the large gates of Jerusalem?—N. R., British Guiana.
We recall that years ago the “needle’s eye” used to be explained to mean a little gate in one of the large gates of Jerusalem, so that if night had fallen and the gates were closed, this little gate could be opened and by unloading the camel it could crawl through the little gate on its knees and haunches; in other words, with great difficulty. Then in 1940 George M. Lamsa issued his translation, The New Testament Translated from Original Aramaic Sources, and in it he renders Matthew 19:24: “Again I say to you, It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
However, the New World Translation which was issued last year renders Matthew 19:24: “Again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God.” But Luke 18:25 uses a different Greek word in the original Bible and hence the New World Translation renders that verse: “It is easier, in fact, for a camel to get through the eye of a sewing needle than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God.” We believe that Jesus meant a literal sewing needle and a literal camel, to illustrate the impossibility of the thing without God’s extreme help.
● Would one of Jehovah’s witnesses be wise to say he accepts as from the Lord and true each issue of The Watchtower even before he opens it? or should he say it is provided by the “faithful and discreet slave” but he will prove everything in it before accepting it?—L. P., Montana.
If the heavenly Father would not give a stone or serpent or scorpion to a child who asked for bread or fish or an egg from him, and if The Watchtower is a gift from Jehovah through Christ by the “faithful and discreet slave”, are we to take each issue of The Watchtower into our hands as if we were going to be bruised by a stone or bitten by a serpent or stung by a scorpion? (Matt. 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13, NW) Are we to be doubtful and suspicious about each succeeding issue? The Beroeans first “received the word with the greatest readiness of mind”, and then they went to “carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so”. (Acts 17:11, NW) So we should receive The Watchtower as an instrument that is always endeavoring to bring us the truth, if our past experience with it warrants that, and then, not in a combative spirit, we should Beroeanlike prove by the Scriptures what it says. That is what we want you to do, that you may be convinced and make these things your very own.