Questions From Readers
● The June 15 Watchtower on “The Marriage Ceremony”, arranges for the man getting married to repeat after the minister that he will love and cherish his wife “for as long as we both shall live or until the divine termination of the marital arrangement”. What is meant by the words “until the divine termination of the marital arrangement”?—L. K., New York.
Some have speculated on that phrase, saying that it means until the marriage is Scripturally terminated by a divorce on the grounds of adultery. But no such unhappy conclusion of the marriage would be envisioned at the happy time of the marriage ceremony. That is not a termination initiated by God, but is a tragic one brought about by the uncleanness of the adulterous one. Others have interpreted the expression to mean when an anointed mate of one of the earthly class is finally taken to heaven to reign with Christ. The physical death of the anointed partner terminates such marriage. So that is not the thought intended. Nor should it be taken, as still others have taken it, to definitely mean that the marriage will end when the divine mandate to fill the earth will have been accomplished.
The expression is used merely to cover a possibility, to allow for any future termination that may come about through the divine providence. When the mandate to fill the earth is fulfilled, when childbearing ceases, the marriage partners may continue their association together as life companions, or they may not, depending upon the divine will at that future, distant time. We cannot say at this time what divine providence will arrange in the distant future in the new world. So this expression merely allows for some future action on the part of God that may terminate the marital arrangement, but it does not mean that such a divine termination will actually take place. We leave that entirely with the Lord for his future action, and the expression is included to show that if such future action is ever taken then all couples will gladly comply with the divine will as it is revealed at that distant time.
● What proof have we that the demons will be abyssed with Satan at Armageddon, and that they will return with him at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ?—R. R., Canal Zone.
Binding and abyssing the Serpent, the Devil, is what is meant by crushing the serpent’s head. In Eden God said to Satan: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” (Gen. 3:15, Cath. Confrat.) The wicked angels or demons are a part of the Serpent’s seed; they are the invisible, spiritual part. Since the Seed of God’s woman, namely, Christ Jesus, restrains the Serpent’s seed together with the Serpent, then the restraining of the wicked demons apparently means their being abyssed with the Devil. All along it was and is the abyss that the demons have feared. When Jesus was on earth he ordered the demons out of persons they had possessed, and on one occasion the demons showed that they looked forward to being abyssed and sought to postpone it, for the record reads: “They kept entreating him not to order them to go away into the abyss.”—Luke 8:31, NW.
It is true that the twentieth chapter of Revelation does not specifically mention the demons when it speaks of Satan’s abyssing and ultimate return for a little while. But inasmuch as Revelation 12:9 shows that Satan’s angels are ousted from heaven and hurled down to earth with him, it is logical to believe that when the tribulation started against him then is resumed at Armageddon, after this in-between period of preaching is over, and his fall is resumed and completed at that battle of God Almighty, landing him in the abyss, the demons will go along with him. They started the fall with him and will logically finish it with him. We know for a certainty that they will not be allowed to remain in their present location and condition throughout the thousand-year reign, to interfere with the accomplishment of the divine purposes destined for that period. So when Revelation 20:3 speaks of Satan’s being seized and hurled into the abyss so that he might not mislead the nations anymore, we may assume that his angels are bound along with him so that they cannot mislead either. Only Satan is mentioned because he is the chief one, and it is to be understood that his demon hordes share his fate.
Since with this view of matters it is not necessary to specifically name the demons as going into the abyss with Satan, neither is it necessary to definitely mention them as being loosed with him at the end of the thousand years. (Rev. 20:7) Just as mention of the chief one, Satan, is sufficient and includes his invisible organization under him when the record speaks of the descent into the abyss, so mention of Satan alone is sufficient and includes the demons when it speaks of the short release from the abyss. Satan will have the assistance of his demons in applying the final test at the end of the thousand years.—See The Watchtower, January 15, 1949, pages 21, 26, 27.
Notice that Revelation 20:10 states that finally the Devil is hurled into “the lake of fire and sulphur, where both the wild beast and the false prophet already were”. The “wild beast” and the “false prophet” refer to the visible organization of Satan that is destroyed at Armageddon. But no mention is made as to his invisible organization’s being there. The invisible part, the demons, is worse, and if the visible is accounted for then surely the invisible would be noted as being there, if it is. But since this most important part of Satan’s organization is not spoken of as being in this place of lasting destruction along with the wild beast and false prophet, we have additional grounds for believing that the demons under Satan are with him when he is hurled into the everlasting destruction symbolized by “the lake of fire and sulphur”.
When two armies under opposing generals engage in battle, we give the outcome by saying this general won and that general was defeated, mentioning only the generals by name. But it is understood that with each general is his army. So it is in Revelation 20:3, 7, 10. When those verses speak of Satan’s plunge into the abyss, his release from it, and his drop into the fiery lake symbolizing destruction, his demons under him are to be understood as undergoing these experiences with him.