Questions From Readers
● Hebrews 2:14, speaking about the Devil, says that he has the “power of death.” If this is an absolute power, why does he not destroy all those serving Jehovah? To what extent does Satan have the “power of death”?—E. D., United States.
As to Satan’s “power of death,” please note how Hebrews 2:14 is translated in the New World Translation. Speaking about Jesus, it states: “That through his death he might destroy the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil.” The Devil has “the means to cause death.” From the very beginning of Satan’s career of deception, his lies and his leadings have caused death among mankind, both from Adamic sin and from Satan’s diabolical earthly servants who persecute true worshipers to death at times, even as they did in the case of Christ Jesus. It does not follow that we should conclude from this, however, that Satan can just reach out and kill any individual he wants to. Jehovah protects those belonging to him, not allowing Satan to wipe true worshipers from the earth, though God allows persecution to come upon all of them and death to come to some of them, as a result of Satan’s venomous assaults. Especially is Satan’s power limited since Christ’s enthronement as King in heaven in 1914 and since Satan’s being cast out of heaven. Christ Jesus has the power today to cause death to both Satan and his organization and he will exercise that power when Jehovah’s due time arrives for him to do so.
● Why do Jehovah’s witnesses sometimes count prophetic time on the basis of a “year for a day,” whereas at other times days are interpreted literally?—W. A., United States.
The fact that the rule, “each day for a year,” exists, as recorded at Ezekiel 4:6, does not mean that we can arbitrarily apply that rule in every context throughout the Bible. We must not confuse one Scriptural picture or prophecy with another. The context in each case will indicate whether a time period is figurative or literal. For instance, the context of Daniel chapter 4 concerning the “seven times” or “seven years” shows that in its complete fulfillment all the things foretold were not to come to pass in 2,520 literal days. At the end of that many literal days Jehovah God did not set up over the kingdoms of men the One whom he had chosen, Christ Jesus. It must be, then, that a larger time measurement applies. The rule set forth at Ezekiel 4:6 supplies that larger measurement, and the 2,520 days become 2,520 years, which came to their end A.D. 1914. However, in Revelation 11:1-4 when it speaks of 1,260 days it is evident that this could not be a period of 1,260 years because what is there discussed is all to take place within the limited “time of the end.” Therefore the days, or the forty-two months of thirty days each, are understood to be literal days. Please see the book Light I, pages 189-200.