Questions From Readers
● Since Jehovah’s witnesses regard smoking as contrary to Christian practice, do they prevent others from smoking when these come to their homes or business establishments?—U.S.A.
Whatever individual Witnesses decide to do in this regard is a personal matter governed by their Bible-trained conscience.
Generally, however, Jehovah’s witnesses prefer that no one does any smoking in their homes. In this way they safeguard the health of their families and prevent their homes from being befouled with the stench of tobacco. Then, too, as Jehovah’s witnesses are concerned about helping others to ‘cleanse themselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit,’ would it be consistent for them to permit indiscriminate smoking in their homes? (2 Cor. 7:1) If they did, would it not suggest to others that they do not regard smoking as a serious matter?
When visitors are kindly informed about the view of Jehovah’s witnesses, they usually respect the wishes of the homeowner. But if their addiction to the tobacco habit is so great that they feel they absolutely must smoke a cigarette, they may be able to do their smoking where it would be least offensive and harmful to others. Just what individual Witnesses might arrange or permit in that case is for them to decide, and it would be influenced by whether the family head is a Witness.
In places of business it is not uncommon to see “No Smoking” signs. Of course, the law of the land may not specifically prohibit smoking in certain business places, and smokers may expect to be able to indulge in their habit while waiting to be served. As the Christian renders personal services to all who might come to him, he may not necessarily feel that he is in position to lay down rules for his customers. He knows that he is in the world and therefore cannot avoid contact with persons having habits that he does not approve. (1 Cor. 5:9, 10) In view of this, some of Jehovah’s witnesses may conclude that the circumstances prevent them from prohibiting smoking at their business establishments. Hence, they may feel obliged to provide receptacles for customers who smoke. Other Witnesses, however, may decide to put up a sign requesting that no smoking be done. They may reason that this would make things more pleasant for themselves and the many nonsmokers frequenting their business establishment.
● How does the requirement set out at Deuteronomy 23:2 affect the prospects of illegitimate children becoming approved servants of God?—U.S.A.
The command at Deuteronomy 23:2 is part of the Mosaic law. It states: “No illegitimate son may come into the congregation of Jehovah. Even to the tenth generation none of his may come into the congregation of Jehovah.”
This was a purposeful law that protected the inheritance rights of legitimate sons and their offspring. It also deterred prostitution and the breakdown of the family arrangement. Of course, this law did not express eternal judgment against individuals. Among those resurrected from the dead and given an opportunity to learn the divine will in God’s new order will be persons who had been born out of wedlock.—Rev. 20:13.
Today Jehovah God is not dealing with just one nation of people. The Mosaic law, with its provision debarring illegitimate sons from becoming members of the congregation of his people, is not binding on Christians. (Col. 2:13, 14) The opportunity to become one of God’s servants is therefore not closed to anyone. Through divine revelation the Christian apostle Peter learned that ‘no man should be called defiled or unclean’ because of nationality. (Acts 10:28) Hence, when addressing the first non-Jews to embrace Christianity, he said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35) This means that all people, even those born out of wedlock, can become approved servants of God, provided that they live in harmony with his will.