Questions From Readers
● Jesus said that the night comes wherein no man can work. Was he referring to the battle of Armageddon?—S. S., United States.
Jesus’ words on this are recorded at John 9:4, 5 (NW): “We must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night is coming where no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the world’s light.” He made these remarks when he restored sight to a man born blind. He was not talking about Armageddon. Jehovah sent Jesus to earth to perform works that would magnify God, make known his purposes. Jesus performed a work of spiritual healing, enabling those spiritually deaf and dumb and blind to hear and speak and discern the truth of God’s Word, freeing those held captive by false worship. Also in a literal way he brought sight to some physically blind, to give a striking display of Jehovah’s power.—Isa. 61:1, 2; Luke 4:17-21.
So Jesus was speaking of himself and the works Jehovah sent him to do, and said that he must do them while it was day and before night came, for when night fell he would not be able to work. He also spoke of being a source of enlightenment as long as he was in the world, implying that the time would come when he would make an exit. His death removed him from the world, put him out of existence, plunged him into the darkness of the grave. It was as a time of night for him, a time when he could do no work. Jesus knew that the death state ahead of him would allow for no performance of work then, just as Ecclesiastes 9:10 shows: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
In Jesus’ case the nighttime void of works certainly could not refer to Armageddon, for he will be performing his mightiest work at that time, destroying wicked creatures on earth and binding into inactivity Satan and his demons, and completely vindicating Jehovah’s name. Nor can we conclusively say that Christ’s followers on earth will be wholly inactive. They will not share in the work of destruction, but they may keep right on doing the work they do now, which is singing Jehovah’s praises and warning the wicked of their destruction. From the words of Isaiah 6:11 it seems that they will be declaring Jehovah’s vengeance until the destruction of visible evildoers is completed: “Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate.”
So as Jesus used the word “night” in this text it merely meant the time of his judgment, impaling and death, during which time he would be unable to work.
● In view of Revelation 20:8, will there be national divisions in the new world, and who are Gog and Magog in this text?—G. T., Canada.
Revelation 20:7, 8 (NW) reads: “Now as soon as the thousand years have been ended, Satan will be let loose out of his prison, and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea.” Nations with national boundaries and people collected within them on the basis of nationality will not exist in the new world, but the people living then will have come from nations, will have at one time been members of nations of this old world, just as the “great crowd” come “out of all nations” yet do not bring any divisive nationalism with them. It is with former national extractions in mind that the term “nations” is used in the text.—Rev. 7:9, NW.
Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 discuss Gog of the land of Magog, and in that prophecy Gog represents Satan after he has been ousted from heaven since 1914, and Magog represents his limited spirit realm confined near earth’s vicinity since that time. (See The Watchtower of October 1, 1953.) But at Revelation 20:8 the time location is different and Gog and Magog are names of earthly lands, and Gog could not here refer to Satan because Satan is spoken of as misleading Gog and Magog. Moreover, the text itself identifies Gog and Magog as “those nations in the four quarters of the earth” that allow Satan to mislead them. Just who the Gog of ancient times was or where his land of Magog was located is uncertain, but it is usually located geographically in northeastern Europe and central Asia, the land of the fierce Scythians and Tartars. At any rate, in Revelation Gog and Magog represent the lands or peoples of those lands that fiercely assault Jehovah’s faithful earthly inhabitants under Satan’s goading.
Their number being “as the sand of the sea” does not mean the majority of mankind will rebel with Satan at the end of the thousand year reign, but it means the number is indefinite, as unnumbered as the sand at the seashore. When the number of Christ’s body members was unrevealed they were compared with the sands of the sea for multitude, but when the number was finally disclosed it was only 144,000 and they were called a “little flock.” So those who rebel with Satan at the end of the millennial reign may well be a minority of mankind.—Gen. 22:17; Gal. 3:29; Rev. 14:1; Luke 12:32.