Questions From Readers
● When Jesus said, as recorded at Matthew 5:5, “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth,” of whom was he speaking?—H. S., U.S.A.
Jesus here applied the expression “mild-tempered” or “meek” to his disciples of that time who were in line for the heavenly kingdom. He was the chief meek one among them and their example. Hebrews 1:1, 2 and Heb 2:5, 6 show that Jesus inherits the earth or takes over the possession of it. His disciples were made his joint heirs in the Kingdom and enter into this inheritance or possession of the earth with him. Hence Matthew 5:5 does not strictly apply to the “other sheep.” However, it has been quoted in connection with them and properly so because they must be meek or mild-tempered ones in imitation of Jesus Christ, and it is only because of being such that they will be allowed to live on the earth in the new world. They do not take over possession of the earth any more than Adam did in the garden of Eden, but Matthew 5:5 can nevertheless be given a general application in that they hold the earth in trust for the chief Heir, the Lord Jesus Christ. To this extent they enter into an inheritance. They enjoy the realm of the King. As Jesus said in the parable of the sheep and goats: “Come, you who have my Father’s blessing, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation.” (Matt. 25:34) So it is not wrong to use this scripture in a general sense in speaking of the blessings that await the “other sheep” in the new world.
● Is it right for Christians to invite others to their home or to accept an invitation to the home of another person for a meal on a worldly holiday?—G. B., U.S.A.
There is nothing Scripturally wrong with Christians’ enjoying a meal in their own home or as guests in the homes of friends or relatives on any day of the year. It may be that on such a worldly holiday is the only time when several are free from their jobs at once so they can take time to enjoy a meal with their friends. Of course, to meet together specifically for the purpose of celebrating the worldly holiday and eating a meal in recognition of it would not be Scriptural or Christian. While it is true that some make a religion on certain days out of actions that would be ordinary on other days, it is not necessary for us, on the other hand, to make a religion out of avoiding on certain days of the year what we would ordinarily do on other days.
In this connection it is good to keep in mind the counsel found in the Scriptures: “Food will not commend us to God; if we do not eat, we do not fall short, and, if we eat, we have no credit to ourselves. But keep watching that this authority of yours does not somehow become a stumblingblock to those who are weak.” “Therefore, whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.”—1 Cor. 8:8, 9; 10:31.
● Why is it that the New World Translation, at Luke 11:2, omits from the model prayer that Jesus taught his disciples the part that says: “Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth”?—R. M., U.S.A.
At Luke 11:2 some translations include the words: “Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth,” because certain of the old Greek manuscripts contain those words. However, the oldest of the most authentic Greek manuscripts, namely, Vatican Manuscript 1209, omits the words. Hence the Greek text by Westcott and Hort, which is the text upon which mainly the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures rests, and the Greek text by the German scholar D. Eberhard Nestle omit the words. For this reason the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures does not contain the words even though they are found in Jesus’ formula of the prayer as given in Matthew 6:9-13. Why Luke omitted the words in Lu chapter 11 verses 2-4 of his account, according to the Vatican Manuscript, we do not know, but the first verse of the chapter Lu 11:1 shows that this rendering of the model prayer was given on a different occasion from that of Matthew chapter six, when Jesus delivered his sermon on the mountain. So on the occasion recorded by Luke when Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he gave a shortened form of the prayer. The foremost things were to pray for God’s name to be sanctified and also for his kingdom to come. When this would be fulfilled, then, of course, the other part would follow, that God’s will should be done on earth as it is up in heaven, and there would be no need to specifically utter a petition to this latter effect. It was implicit in the sanctifying of God’s name and of the coming of his kingdom.
● In connection with the ark constructed by Noah, Genesis 6:16 makes reference to an “opening for illumination” and Genesis 8:6 refers to “the window.” Are they the same? Also, what was the “covering of the ark” spoken of in Genesis 8:13?—E. F., U.S.A.
The “window” of the ark and the “opening for illumination” are one and the same thing. This opening for illumination also provided for the ventilation of the ark, so it must have extended all around the ark at the top under the eaves, which protected the ark from having the heavy downpour of water get inside. The “covering of the ark” mentioned in Genesis 8:13 was doubtless something on top of the ark. Whether it was the whole roof or part of the roof we do not know. But when this covering was removed from the top it would afford ample way of escape for the birds to fly out of the ark, soaring into the air above the ark. The other animals would have to make their exit through the door, which was the only other opening in the ark besides the window or opening for illumination.