Questions From Readers
● When the book From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained says, on page 229, that faithful servants of Jehovah who die now “will be brought back in the ‘resurrection of life’ to get the same blessings that the people who live through Armageddon will receive,” does it mean that they will marry and share in fulfilling the procreation mandate?—F. B., U.S.A.
The statement referred to, which speaks of the prospects that await dedicated, baptized and faithful witnesses of Jehovah who have the hope for life on earth, means that they will get the blessings that the Scriptures say they are entitled to. There is nothing in the Scriptures to indicate that they will marry and participate in fulfilling the procreation mandate. Jesus said, as recorded at Luke 20:35: “Those who have been counted worthy of gaining that system of things and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.” This applies also to those who died before Christ appeared in the presence of God to present the value of his human sacrifice in behalf of his faithful followers here on earth; so it includes those faithful ones from Abel to John the Baptist.
Consequently a woman who has been made a widow by the death of her husband now before Armageddon is not obligated to wait for his resurrection from the dead after Armageddon. She is free to remarry whom she wants, only in the Lord, and to bring forth children by her new husband. Death dissolves the marriage tie, as Romans 7:1-3 shows.
● Is it all right for Christians to resort to sterilization to avoid childbirth?
We can be guided in this matter by the principle that is set down in the law of God given through Moses. We know that if any member of the priestly family of Aaron had broken testicles he could not serve as a priest; also, no person sexually mutilated could enter into the congregation of Jehovah. And God so cared for the procreative organs of the male that if any woman took part in a fight between her husband and another man and reached out and grabbed that man by his privates to disable him, she was to have her hand cut off. (Lev. 21:17-20; Deut. 23:1; 25:11, 12) So if God was concerned about the procreative powers of his typical people of Israel, he must likewise be so about those of his spiritual Israelites, because he authorizes them to be parents and bring up offspring in the fear of God.
If anyone was sexually sterilized before coming to a knowledge of the truth and he survived Armageddon, it would require a miracle from God through Christ the King of mankind to enable such sterilized person to take part then in fulfilling the procreation mandate.
There are several other methods used today to avoid parenthood, and on these the Society remains silent, leaving each married couple to make their own decision. (See The Watchtower, March 1, 1951, page 159; April 1, 1953, page 222.) However, it is absolutely wrong for a person to think that in order to stay free for the Kingdom service and avoid family responsibilities in the way of children he is justified in getting himself sexually sterilized. If he is so desirous of avoiding family responsibilities, then let him stay single, and thus, as Jesus said, make himself a eunuch for the sake of God’s kingdom. (Matt. 19:12) A person who has himself sterilized does an injustice to his marriage partner who may at some time want and be entitled to children. He may think he is thus making himself free from trials and temptation by the Devil in this respect, but he is exposing himself to other trials and temptations in this very same respect. It is best to live a normal life with all the powers and faculties God has given a creature physically.
If one was sterilized before understanding the truth, then let him draw comfort from Isaiah 56:3-7.
● Who was the father of Shealtiel? The Bible account at Matthew 1:12 says his father was Jechoniah, while Luke 3:27 says Neri. How can these two genealogies be harmonized?—H. H., U.S.A.
On page 130 of the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth” it is correctly stated: “But before finally merging in King David, the ancestral lines of Joseph and Mary meet in Zerubbabel and his father Shealtiel.” As Matthew says, Shealtiel was the direct son of King Jechoniah or Jehoiachin. How, then, was he the son of Neri? He was the son of Neri also because he married Neri’s daughter and became in reality the son-in-law of Neri. The Hebrews, however, spoke of a son-in-law as a son, just as Joseph the direct son of Jacob is spoken of by Luke as a son of Heli because Joseph married Heli’s daughter Mary.—Luke 3:23.
It is interesting to note in this connection that in Luke 3:27 the Cambridge manuscript of Beza, which is designated by the international symbol “D,” reads: “the son of Jechoniah,” not Neri.