Questions From Readers
● At Psalm 127:3, why does the New World Translation use the word “belly” instead of “womb” as other translations do?—W. P., U.S.A.
The scripture reads, in the New World Translation: “Look! sons are a possession from Jehovah; the fruitage of the belly is a reward.” The New World Translation uses the expression “fruitage of the belly” in this place because the Hebrew text uses a different word from that for the womb. This Hebrew word is consistently rendered “belly” throughout the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The New World Translation is without fault in rendering consistently “belly” here because it is in the belly of a female that the womb is found, and thus children are the fruitage of the female belly.
● When 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that the body of you people is the temple of the holy spirit within you which you have from God?” does it mean that the mortal human body of a Christian is the temple?—F.S., U.S.A.
In the preceding verse 1Co 6:18 the apostle Paul warns: “Flee from fornication. Every other sin which a man may commit is outside his body, but he that practices fornication is sinning against his own body.” Here he clearly refers to misuse of one’s fleshly organism. Then in 1Co 6 verses 19 and 20 he is reminding them that as a group they occupy a special place in Jehovah’s purpose. It is not the body of just one member of the congregation that is the temple, but he says: “Do you not know that the body of you people is the temple of the holy spirit within you which you have from God?” This use of the expression “body of you people” is in agreement with the statement in 1 Corinthians 10:17, directed to the 144,000 members of the body of Christ and which says: “Because there is one loaf, we, although many, are one body, for we are all partaking of that one loaf.”
The apostle Peter under inspiration described Jesus Christ as the foundation cornerstone of the temple and his 144,000 body members as “living stones,” and he said: “You yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house.” (1 Pet. 2:4-6) There are not 144,000 such spiritual houses, or temples, but just one, made up of many members. However, Christ Jesus could properly refer to himself as the temple of God because he is the prime member, the foundation cornerstone of God’s one spiritual temple.—John 2:19-22; Rev. 21:22.
Other scriptures support this understanding of the matter: “Do you not know that you people are God’s temple and that the spirit of God dwells in you? . . . for the temple of God is holy, which temple you people are.” He speaks of one temple, not many. “We are the temple of the living God.” (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 2 Cor. 6:16) Ephesians 2:19-22 shows how all the members fit into the one spiritual temple, when it says to the 144,000 members of the body of Christ: “You have been built up upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, while Christ Jesus himself is the foundation cornerstone. In union with him the whole building, being harmoniously joined together, is growing into a holy temple for Jehovah. In union with him you, too, are being built up together into a place for God to inhabit by spirit.”
Thus the Scriptures make it very clear that it is not the mortal body of the individual Christian that is the temple of God, but that the members of the Christian congregation as spiritual stones are built on Christ Jesus the foundation cornerstone as one spiritual temple of God.
● Although it is unscriptural for a Christian to accept another person’s blood in transfusion, would it be allowable for a dedicated Christian to have some of his own blood removed and then put back into his body during an operation?—W. D., U.S.A.
According to the method of handling blood prescribed by the Bible, blood when taken from a body was to be poured out on the ground as water and covered over with dust. (Lev. 17:13, 14; Deut. 12:16, 23, 24; 15:23; 1 Chron. 11:18, 19) This is because life is in the blood and such shed blood is held sacred before Jehovah God. The covenant regarding the sanctity of blood stated after the Flood is still binding today, and it covers both animal and human blood, whether one’s own or another’s. Consequently, the removal of one’s blood, storing it and later putting it back into the same person would be a violation of the Scriptural principles that govern the handling of blood.—Gen. 9:4-6.
If, however, hemorrhaging should occur at the time of an operation and by some means the blood is immediately channeled back into the body, this would be allowable. The use of some device whereby the blood is diverted and a certain area or organ is temporarily bypassed during surgery would be Biblically permissible, for the blood would be flowing from one’s body through the apparatus and right back into the body again. On the other hand, if the blood were stored, even for a brief period of time, this would be a violation of the Scriptures.
The use of another person’s blood to “prime” any device employed in surgery is objectionable. In this case the blood would circulate through the system of the patient, becoming mixed with his own. Again, if one’s own blood would have to be withdrawn at intervals and stored until a sufficient amount had accumulated to set a machine in operation, this too would fall under Scriptural prohibition. The ones involved in the matter are in the best position to ascertain just how the blood would be handled and must bear responsibility before Jehovah for seeing that it is not handled unscripturally.