Questions From Readers
● In John 5:28, 29 and Acts 24:15 it speaks of resurrections for those that have done good, or the just, and for those that have done evil, or the unjust. Who are the ones in each of these two groupings?—R. K., Pennsylvania.
The New World Translation renders these scriptures as follows: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28, 29) “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) Those having part in the first resurrection, being raised as spirit creatures to reign with Christ, would be classed as “the righteous” “who did good things”. But, additionally, the faithful men of old and any of the great crowd of other sheep who may die before Armageddon may be viewed as having done good things and being counted righteous. Because of their having endeavored to do God’s will and not having practiced vile things, they have a resurrection that puts them on the way of eternal life. But those who have not lived during a judgment period and who did not know of Jehovah’s requirements and ignorantly practiced vile things will come back during the millennial resurrection of mankind in general, and will enter their judgment period. Hence they are spoken of as coming back to a “resurrection of judgment”.
Note that John 5:28 limits resurrections to those “in the memorial tombs”. This means that only those whose existence Jehovah retains in his memory will be resurrected, which remembrance is indicated or symbolized by the expression “memorial tomb”. That is why criminals considered unworthy of a resurrection were unceremoniously tossed into the Valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, where their bodies were consumed, unlamented, unburied, without any tomb to remind of or memorialize their former existence. So those not “in the memorial tombs”, or not thus symbolized as being in God’s memory, will not be remembered at resurrection time. What this means to us today is that those now living in this time of judgment and who fail for one reason or another to take a stand for Jehovah, and are therefore slain by him at the battle of Armageddon, will not be retained in his memory for a resurrection. That this group will include the majority of humans now living on earth is shown by Jeremiah 25:33: “The slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” These vast numbers slain by Jehovah and likened to dung strewn over the earth could hardly be considered as being “in the memorial tombs” for Christ to remember and call forth during the Millennium.
● Why did Jesus tell healed ones to tell no one of the miracles performed on them, and why did he tell his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ?—M. C., Ohio.
After two blind men had received sight from Jesus, he “sternly charged them, saying: ‘See that nobody gets to know it.’” (Matt. 9:30, NW) After cleansing a leper Jesus “gave him strict orders and at once sent him away, and said to him: ‘See you tell nobody a thing, but go show yourself to the priest and offer in behalf of your cleansing the things Moses directed, for the purpose of a witness to them.’” But the man spread abroad the account of the miracle “so that Jesus was no longer able to enter openly into a city” because of the throngs that hindered his movements. (Mark 1:40-45, NW) After curing a man that was deaf and afflicted with a speech impediment Jesus “charged them not to tell anyone”. (Mark 7:33-36, NW) Christ Jesus did this because he did not want to be publicly advertised in the streets and have the populace make their decision regarding him on the basis of such circulated reports. He wanted the people to see and hear for themselves and decide on the basis of their own personal experience with him.
It was for this same reason that he charged his disciples not to advertise him as the Messiah. Instead of publicizing this in the streets and raising this issue for settlement in such public places, on the basis of the reports of the disciples, let each one investigate and make his own decision on the basis of the evidence. Hence it was that when Jesus asked his disciples who men said he was he found that some thought him Elijah, or John the Baptist, or Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets. Then he asked his disciples what they thought, and Peter expressed their belief, “You are the Christ.” “Then he sternly charged the disciples not to say to anybody that he was the Christ.” Let everyone make his own decision, just as this discussion with his disciples showed that they were doing, and coming to various conclusions. They had the Hebrew Scriptures and knew the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and they could see Jesus’ works and hear his words. Let them decide.—Matt. 16:13-20, NW.
Thus when nettled Jews said irritably, “If you are the Christ, tell us outspokenly,” Jesus replied, “The works which I am doing in the name of my Father, these bear witness about me.” (John 10:24, 25, NW) It is true that Jesus did acknowledge to the Samaritan woman at the well that he was the Messiah, and she told the men of her city, and these Samaritan men came and heard Jesus. But note that their decision was based on what they heard Jesus say, and not on what the woman had told them: “They began to say to the woman: ‘We do not believe any longer on account of your talk; for we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man is for a certainty the savior of the world.’” (John 4:7-42, NW) Only after he was put under oath before the chief priests and Sanhedrin would he identify himself as the Messiah to them, but before he did even then he said, “That was for you to say.” It was for them to say whether he was the Messiah or not, on the basis of the evidence. The decision was for them to make, their responsibility. (Matt. 26:63, 64, NW) Similarly, when before Pilate and that official asked whether Jesus was a king, Jesus said, “It is for you to say that I am a king.” The decision was for Pilate to make.—John 18:37, NW.
So Jesus did not want men to believe on him because others had talked them into it. He wanted them to decide for themselves whether his words and acts fulfilled the prophecies concerning the Messiah or not. He did not want any decision to be based on excited reports passed from mouth to mouth and enlarged upon, or on noisy advertising of him in the streets. He was not out for publicity of that kind, as the Pharisees were. (Matt. 6:2, 5) The Bible establishes this at Matthew 12:15-19 (NW): “He cured them all, but he strictly charged them not to make him manifest; that it might be fulfilled what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, who said: ‘Look! my servant whom I chose, my beloved, whom my soul approved! I will put my spirit upon him, and he will make clear to the nations what judgment is. He will not wrangle, nor cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the broad ways.’” (Isa. 42:2) So Jesus’ prohibition on the promiscuous advertising of his miracles and Messiahship was in fulfillment of prophecy.
● In the April 1 Watchtower the Chart of Outstanding Historical Dates gives Adam’s creation as in the fall of 4025 B.C. What grounds is there for this?—D. D., Iowa.
The following statement is made at the end of the chart: “It should be noted by the reader that many early Biblical events occurred within years that ran from fall to fall. The Jews even today have a ‘civil year’ that runs from fall to fall. At the Exodus in 1513 B.C. ‘sacred years’ were inaugurated which counted from spring to spring.” This shows that in ancient times the years ran from fall to fall, meaning that their new year started in the fall. How did this practice come about? Well, it is logical to believe that it started with Adam, and if it did, then it is logical to conclude that he was created in the fall. He would naturally count time as it related to himself, numbering his years from the time of his creation. After he had lived one year, a new year would start for him; hence for him a new year would start at the time of each anniversary of his creation. His immediate family, and later all their offspring, might very logically come to adopt that same time as their new year. In that way the ancients might have had fixed for them their practice of counting their years on the basis of Adam’s time of creation; and if that is true, and since they did count their years from fall to fall, we may believe with logic that Adam was created in the fall of the year.
It is noteworthy that the fall is very prominent in Jehovah’s arrangement of things. One of the three outstanding feasts that the Law covenant commanded the Israelites to observe namely the feast of tabernacles or ingathering occurred in the fall. The day of atonement was in the fall. Additionally, Solomon’s temple was dedicated in the fall, Jerusalem’s complete desolation came in the fall, after the seventy years of desolation Jehovah’s worship was restored there in the fall, Jesus was born in the fall of 2 B.C., he was anointed as Messiah in the fall of A.D. 29, and it was in the fall of A.D. 1914 that he was enthroned in heaven.