Questions From Readers
“The Watchtower” of August 15, 1996, said: “In the final part of the tribulation, ‘flesh’ that has fled to Jehovah’s side will be saved.” Is that suggesting that after the first phase of the great tribulation, many new ones will come over to God’s side?
That was not the point being made.
Jesus’ words found at Matthew 24:22 will primarily be fulfilled in the future by a salvation through the first part of the coming great tribulation, the attack on religion. The article said: “Recall that ‘flesh,’ both of the anointed remnant and of the ‘great crowd,’ already will have been saved when Babylon the Great goes down swiftly and completely in the first part of the tribulation.”
Such faithful ones will be in no danger when Jesus and his heavenly army act in the final part of the tribulation. But who will thus pass through that phase of the tribulation? Revelation 7:9, 14 shows that a great crowd having an earthly hope will survive. What of spirit-anointed Christians? “Questions From Readers” in The Watchtower of August 15, 1990, discussed why we cannot be dogmatic about when the remnant of anointed ones will be taken to heaven. So the recent article (August 15, 1996) left the matter open, making the general comment: “Likewise in the final part of the tribulation, ‘flesh’ that has fled to Jehovah’s side will be saved.”
As to whether any new ones may be able to learn the truth and come over to God’s side after the great tribulation begins, note Jesus’ words recorded at Matthew 24:29-31. After the outbreak of the tribulation, the sign of the Son of man will appear. Jesus said that all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves and lament. He did not say anything about people waking up to the situation, repenting, taking God’s side, and becoming true disciples.
Similarly, in the parable of the sheep and the goats, the Son of man appears and judicially separates people on the basis of what they had done or not done in the past. Jesus said nothing about people who long displayed goatlike attributes suddenly turning around and becoming like sheep. He comes to judge on the basis of what people had already proved to be.—Matthew 25:31-46.
But, again, there is no reason to be dogmatic on this point. God’s people, both of the anointed and of the great crowd, know what they have to do now—preach and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 13:10) Right now is the period for us to take to heart the exhortation: “Working together with him, we also entreat you not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and in a day of salvation I helped you.’ Look! Now is the especially acceptable time. Look! Now is the day of salvation.”—2 Corinthians 6:1, 2.