Questions From Readers
● Considering what is said at 1 Chronicles 28:9, how can it be said that Solomon will be resurrected?—B.M., U.S.A.
In order to determine what the Bible indicates about the possibility of a resurrection for Solomon, it is helpful to compare what is said about him with what the Scriptures say happened at death to certain other men who lived before Christ.
Abraham, Moses and David pleased Jehovah. Consequently, they were listed as men of faith who believed in and will receive a resurrection. (Heb. 11:17-19, 23-28, 32-35, 39, 40) This means that at death they went to Sheol or Haʹdes, the common earthly grave of mankind, since it is from there that the dead are resurrected. (Rev. 20:13) We have no reason to doubt Jehovah’s determination in their regard. Interestingly, the Bible used similar expressions in explaining what happened to all these men when they died. Abraham, upon his death, went “to [his] forefathers in peace.” (Gen. 15:15) At death Moses ‘lay down with his forefathers.’ (Deut. 31:16) And David is spoken of as being “with his forefathers and . . . buried in the city of David.”—1 Ki. 2:10; Acts 13:36.
So all three men, Abraham, Moses and David, pleased God, went to Sheol, and are mentioned as being buried with or gathered to their forefathers. The use of the similar expression ‘buried with his forefathers’ could not mean that they all shared the same grave, since these men were not buried at the same place. In fact, Jehovah buried Moses, and “nobody has come to know his grave down to this day.”—Deut. 34:5, 6.
Jehovah also included in the inspired record the statement that at death Solomon “lay down [slept, AV, AS, RS] with his forefathers.” (1 Ki. 11:43; 2 Chron. 9:31) So, using the Bible’s parallelism, we can reasonably conclude that Solomon, along with his forefathers Abraham, Moses and David, is in Sheol or Haʹdes, from which he will be resurrected. Although some may feel that, in view of Solomon’s great wisdom, he was fully accountable when he turned to false worship, all the factors are known by Jehovah, a God of perfect justice and mercy, and this seems to be his decision on the matter.
Before David died he had admonished Solomon: “If you search for [Jehovah], he will let himself be found by you; but if you leave him, he will cast you off forever.” (1 Chron. 28:9) In view of what has already been established, what can we conclude that David here meant? It appears that David had reference to this present life and did not have in mind the matter of whether Solomon would have a resurrection or not if he fell away from true worship. If Solomon, as king of Israel, left Jehovah, God would reject him or cast him off. That is what happened. (1 Ki. 11:9-13) Nonetheless, the Scriptures indicate that Solomon apparently will receive a resurrection.—John 5:28, 29; Matt. 6:29; 12:42; Acts 7:47.
Of course, the Bible does not make a definite statement on the resurrection possibilities of each and every person it names. But if we individually prove our own integrity to God now, it will be our privilege to be on hand when the resurrection occurs or to be among those raised from the dead. Then we will know definitely which individuals have been favored by God with a resurrection.
● How are we to understand Jeremiah 51:39, 57, where the Babylonians are said to “sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will never wake up”? Does this not mean that they will never be resurrected?—R.A., U.S.A.
Jeremiah chapter 51 contains a prophetic foreview of the fall of Babylon. In it Jehovah makes known that he would rouse up the surrounding nations to break Babylon’s power. In the midst of this prophecy, Jer 51 verses 39 and 57 say: “‘When they are heated I shall set their banquets and I will make them drunk, in order that they may exult; and they must sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will never wake up,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘And I will make her princes and her wise ones, her governors and her deputy rulers and her mighty men drunk, and they must sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will not wake up,’ is the utterance of the King, whose name is Jehovah of armies.”
On the very night of Babylon’s fall to the Medes and the Persians, Belshazzar the king had a lavish feast for a thousand of his grandees, and a lot of drinking was done. But before the night was over the enemy soldiers had seized control of the city, “Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed,” many of those about the king and others caught in the streets were slain. (Dan. 5:1-4, 30) They did not go to sleep merely as a drunkard who wakes up the next day; theirs was “an indefinitely lasting sleep” because they were dead.
They were suffering the effects, not merely of literal wine, but of the symbolic “cup of the wine of rage” of Jehovah God, whom they had defied. The sword of war among them made them stagger like drunkards, and some of them, slain by the sword, would “sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep,” from which no man could awaken them.—Jer. 25:15, 16, 26.
Does this mean that none of them will be resurrected so as to be included with “the dead, the great and the small,” whom the apostle John prophetically saw standing before the throne of judgment? (Rev. 20:12, 13) Apparently not. Belshazzar was the last of that line of kings. He was slain on the night Babylon fell and went into “an indefinitely lasting sleep” from which he has not awakened till now because he was not made drunk with wine, the effects of which can be slept off, but was killed, and so he is apparently included among those who are in Sheol. If that is true of him, it seems reasonable that it would be true of other Babylonians who perished at that time. How long their “indefinitely lasting sleep” will yet last before God’s power rouses them from death under the Messianic kingdom, we do not know. They cannot wake themselves up.—Compare Job 14:10-12, 19-22.