Questions From Readers
● Light (Book Two) states that the binding and abyssing of Satan referred to at Revelation 20:2, 3 means his death. “This Means Everlasting Life”, page 271, speaks of Satan and his demons being “hurled into the abyss of total deathlike inactivity”. Why does this later book speak of it in this way?—R. S., California.
“The Truth Shall Make You Free” parallels the abyss of Revelation 20:3, in which Satan is cast, to the abyss of Romans 10:7 (NW), where Jesus lay dead for three days. Hence it concludes, “The abyss into which Satan the Devil is cast for a thousand years is the same condition as that in which Christ Jesus was for three days, namely, death.” (Pages 350, 351) It is true that Satan is completely out of existence during his thousand-year binding in the abyss, but the later expression on this point as given in the book “This Means Everlasting Life” allows more latitude of meaning. To say that Satan is “hurled into the abyss of total deathlike inactivity” allows for the thought that the body of Satan may not be entirely dissolved, but leaves open the possibility that it may be preserved in some way suitable to spiritual bodies, just as we might preserve a body of flesh and blood in cold storage or deep freeze. The creature Satan, of course, is dead so far as he is concerned, being completely lifeless and unconscious, and not merely in some sort of coma during which life processes continue. The body of that spirit creature might easily be preserved by God and merely resuscitated at the end of the thousand years, for the foretold “little season”. Incidentally, the human body of Jesus did not decay away when he went to the abyss, but was miraculously disposed of by Jehovah God. (Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:31) The specific method employed in binding Satan in the abyss should be no point for controversy. The important point is that he is to be completely out of the way and unable to interfere with the blessed activities of the Millennium. Then after his resuscitation for the “little season”, his final death and bodily dissolution are complete and permanent, as symbolized by his being cast, not into the abyss this time, but into the “lake of fire and sulphur”.—Rev. 20:10, NW.
● What did the apostle Paul mean when he said of Christ, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”?—J. D., Canada.
According to the New World Translation Colossians 2:8, 9 reads very enlighteningly: “Look out: perhaps there may be some man that will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ; because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells for the body.” Hence those who are of the “body of Christ” must look to Jesus the Head for all their blessings and guidance and instruction from God, and not to human philosophers and traditionalists. Jesus has the fullness of all that we need since he has been raised up a spirit Son of God, immortal, divine.
● Is it necessary for a woman to cover her head when conducting a home Bible study? When such a covering is or is not required is causing much discussion in our company.—P. W., Ohio.
She would not need her head covered for the conducting of a home Bible study, as it is not a congregational meeting, but one that she has arranged herself. It is not a case of her being appointed to conduct a congregational meeting. However, if her husband were to attend this home meeting, she would cover her head if she prayed at the opening or close of the study. This would harmonize with the instruction: “Every woman that prays or prophesies with her head unveiled shames the one who is her head.”—1 Cor. 11:3-16, NW.
We view a head-covering necessary under two conditions: (1) when a sister receives an appointment through the congregation or theocratic organization to keep order and conduct congregational meetings, and (2) when she is married and must show submission to the one God has made head of the family, the husband. These two principles enable one to decide for herself the requirement of varying situations.
A few examples may aid in grasping these principles. In a company composed entirely of sisters, the Society appoints sisters to positions ordinarily held by brothers. When such sisters serve from the platform at congregational meetings, they will show recognition of the theocratic headship of the man and that they are serving in the man’s place only because circumstances require it. This recognition they show by wearing a head-covering, such as a hat or scarf or other suitable covering. Any sister conducting or presiding over a part of a congregational meeting should do likewise, whether she is a servant in the company or not.
While sisters presiding at the service meeting or Watchtower study or company book study wear head-coverings, other sisters who merely read the paragraphs in sum-up at such meetings, or who participate in demonstrations, or relate experiences, or answer questions from the audience, do not need to wear such a covering.
Sisters leading in prayer at congregational meetings should have their head covered. The woman’s hair is not sufficient as a covering. If it were, the question would never have been raised.
But when a sister finds interest in the field, follows it up and establishes a home Bible study of her own, she does not thereby become a conductor of a congregational meeting. Only if her husband is present must she wear a covering when she prays, for his presence brings into the matter the second principle, that of showing subjection to her family head. Of course, if the husband is in the truth he should do the praying, and if this is done then the sister, his wife, may conduct the meeting without head-covering.
In the case of prayer at mealtime, the man of the house should do the praying. If he will not do this for one reason or another, and calls on his wife, her head should be covered to show recognition of the theocratic principle of man’s headship in the family relationship. If her husband is not present, she may pray with uncovered head, just as she does in her individual prayers privately uttered. If the sister praying at mealtime is unmarried, having no husband as her head, she need wear no head-covering, whether she is in her own home or a friend’s home or a missionary home. Of course, in all instances if a brother is present he should pray.
So the matter resolves itself to this: Is it a congregational meeting where the sister is presiding or praying? If so she should have her head covered. If not a congregational meeting, does a husband-and-wife relationship exist for her to show recognition to his headship, if he is present? If yes, then she should have her head covered. She would not show this sign of subjection to another woman’s husband. Nor would a single sister or widow show this sign of subjection to another woman’s husband. Such unmarried sisters have no male head as does a married woman. The only time the single sister would concern herself about a head-covering is when she comes under congregational conditions calling for it.
This has been answered at some length, since it comes up often in the United States. It is no question in many lands, where women customarily go with heads covered or with veils. In view of all that has been said on this subject, we suggest that each sister henceforth decide for herself when the covering is required, doing what she conscientiously believes right in situations not specifically covered herein, but which can be determined on the basis of the principles herein set forth. If she is in doubt and unsettled in conscience over a particular situation, she should wear the covering to be safe and at ease in mind and in conscience.
Knowing now the principles involved, let us show Christian maturity and apply these for ourselves, conscientiously, and not have to ask others on every imaginable situation. The Society would soon be compiling a set of regulations as voluminous as the Talmud if it endeavored to prescribe specific rules for all the varying cases. In fallen man under Satan’s influence there is always the tendency to substitute rules for principles. It is so much easier to conform the conduct to a rule than to make a principle inform the whole life. Moses prescribed rules; Christ inculcated principles. Rules are for children; principles for men and women mature in Christian growth. So now show maturity in applying the principles herein given regarding head-covering, making your decisions conscientiously, and you will not properly be criticized by others.