Questions From Readers
● Concerning young widows the Bible says that “when their sexual impulses have come between them and the Christ, they want to marry, having a judgment because they have disregarded their first expression of faith.” Does this mean young widows who marry are unfaithful?—B. S., United States.
Such a conclusion could not be correct, for two verses later Paul says, “I desire the younger widows to marry.” An appreciation of the setting is necessary; so let us read 1 Timothy 5:3-14, NW:
“Honor widows that are actually widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let these learn first to practice godly devotion in their own household and to keep paying a due compensation to their parents and grandparents, for this is acceptable in God’s sight. Now the woman who is actually a widow and left destitute has put her hope in God and persists in supplications and prayers night and day. But the one that goes in for sensual gratification is dead though she is living. So keep on giving these commands, that they may be irreprehensible. Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.
“Let a widow be put on the list who has become not less than sixty years old, a wife of one husband, having a witness borne to her for right works, if she reared children, if she entertained strangers, if she washed the feet of holy ones, if she relieved those in tribulation, if she diligently followed every good work.
“On the other hand, turn down younger widows, for when their sexual impulses have come between them and the Christ, they want to marry, having a judgment because they have disregarded their first expression of faith. At the same time they also learn to be unoccupied, gadding about to the houses, yes, not only unoccupied, but also gossipers and meddlers in other people’s affairs, talking of things they ought not. Therefore I desire the younger widows to marry, to bear children, to manage a household, to give no inducement to the opposer to revile.”
When Paul said to honor widows he had in mind providing for them materially, and Jesus indicated that honoring parents included material provisions. (Matt. 15:1-6) Paul showed that such honor by material provisions was to be shown by close relatives, and if there were no relatives to provide for an older widow of good report in the congregation then the congregation was to put her on the list it kept of those deserving of congregational help or support. Then he goes on to show that younger widows should not be put on this list, for after they had expressed faith in maintaining a single state and declared their determination to serve Jehovah with the full, exclusive, undistracted devotion their singleness would allow, they would end up heeding their sexual impulses and marrying anyway. So it would be better for younger widows not to make this expression and be put on the list for congregational help and then fail, bringing an adverse judgment upon themselves. Better for them to marry and busy themselves with raising children and managing a household. Hence we see 1 Timothy 5:11, 12 is not arguing that young widows who marry are unfaithful.
● Does Isaiah 53:2, 3 refer to the physical appearance of Christ Jesus?—J. E., Sweden.
The verses of the prophecy read: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Christ Jesus was a perfect man, and it is reasonable to believe that he was very pleasing in physical appearance. But even more beautiful to behold was his devotion to Jehovah God and to His will. Jesus excelled “in the beauties of holiness.” Isaiah 52:7 declares: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.” This prophecy refers to Christ Jesus, but it certainly is not speaking of any physical beauty of the literal feet of Jesus. They are called beautiful because of their activity in walking in Jehovah’s way and carrying his message.—Ps. 110:3.
But this beautiful activity and holiness displayed by Jesus at the time of his first coming did not please the Jewish religious leaders or the people under their control. The message exposed the religious groups as hypocrites, liars and murderers, and as doomed to destruction. This message was repulsive to them, its declaration was odious to them, and the bearer of it was obnoxious to their sight. From their religious viewpoint he had no comeliness or desirable beauty. His face was against them in that he repeatedly reproved and rebuked them and their face was turned against him. They saw nothing pleasant in his appearance, held him in no esteem, despised him, rejected him, hid their face from him. The Jewish religionists certainly would not react so violently toward him because of mere outward appearance, and to argue so is to shrivel the prophecy’s scope down to a meaningless issue. It was Jesus’ spiritual activity that made him despised and rejected by the Jewish nation. They could see nothing beautiful in Jesus’ devotion and holiness to Jehovah God, for it exposed their own figurative, spiritual ugliness.
● Proverbs 16:4 (AS) states: “Jehovah hath made everything for its own end; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Does this mean that Jehovah makes men wicked, perhaps to fit some supposed predestination of his?—D. U., United States.
Jehovah does not create men wicked to fit in with the doctrine of predestination, for that doctrine is a false teaching. (See the May 15 and June 1, 1953, issues of The Watchtower.) And not for a day of evil nor for any other reason did Jehovah make the wicked. To argue so would be to contradict Deuteronomy 32:4, 5 (NW) and Ecclesiastes 7:29 (Le), which texts read: “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he. They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own. A generation crooked and twisted!” “Lo, this only did I find, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought for many (sinful) devices.”
The same Hebrew word here in Proverbs 16:4 translated “made” is translated “ordaineth” at Psalm 7:13: “He ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.” They are appointed for use against enemies. In the same way, the wicked are ordained or appointed for destruction in the day of evil, a day that will be evil to them because it will mark the end of their existence. As a class the wicked are made to exist or remain till then, Jehovah knowing how to reserve them or make them remain till that time of his vindication: “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off.” (2 Pet. 2:9, NW) It is this thought that is given by the Septuagint translation of Proverbs 16:4: “All the works of the Lord are done with righteousness; and the ungodly man is kept for the evil day.” The evil day is for the wicked, and the wicked are for the evil day.