Kingdom Rules! and “All Scripture is inspired of God and Beneficial” and all the Yearbook reports; I am also up to the minute with both The Watchtower and Awake!
Last year Jehovah gave me a sweet and happy surprise. For several years I had desired to visit Bethel again, where I had spent nearly twenty years of happy service, and to see with my eyes the marvelous expansion that has taken place there since 1935, when I was sent out as zone servant. But my physical condition was such that I knew I could never traverse the Bethel and factory, even with the help of a cane. So I had given up all hope of ever seeing Bethel again. Can you imagine my surprise when the mailman brought me a personal invitation from the Society’s president, Brother Knorr, to visit Bethel? Knowing my physical disability, his invitation said: “We have a wheelchair here that you could use to move around in on a tour through the home and factory.”
So in May 1964 my eyes feasted on the visible expansion of Jehovah’s work at Bethel. And did I enjoy the visit? Well, I can’t express my joy in words that would convey my real pleasure. Besides thanking Brother Knorr for the invitation, I want to thank the brother who explained each room and machine and operation and the brother who pushed that wheelchair and did so many other kindnesses. I marvel at the expansion of the organization at headquarters. Surely, Jehovah has a most wonderful working organization.
Have I enjoyed my nearly seventy years in the service of Jehovah? The following scriptures well express my joy and satisfaction: “The peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers.” “I give you my peace. I do not give it to you the way that the world gives it.” “You are content with the present things.” (Phil. 4:7; John 14:27; Heb. 13:5) Real joy includes a quiet dignified feeling of contentment, peace of mind, freedom from fear, worry, murmuring or faultfinding. It is not manifested by hilarity, wisecracking or funny jokes; it does not include sanctimoniousness. It includes strong faith and a steadfast hope.
That answers my question. Most emphatically, I have enjoyed the knowledge of the truth and my many privileges of service. Here I am at 96 years of age, tottering along, because of poor vision and faltering limbs, but still serving Jehovah as my physical condition permits, happy and contented.
Questions From Readers
● If resurrected ones are to be judged on the basis of their actions after being raised from the dead, why did Jesus use the past tense in discussing this matter at John 5:28, 29?—H.M., Papua, New Guinea.
Those verses Joh 5:28, 29 read: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.”
Jesus apparently stated the matter as he did because it would in this way cover the circumstances of “all those in the memorial tombs.”
Those who gain heavenly life with Christ are judged on the basis of the works they do in this life. (2 Cor. 5:10) At the time they are resurrected to spirit life they are granted immortality. (1 Cor. 15:53; Rom. 6:5) They are not then placed on judgment, but are themselves empowered to act as judges with Christ. (Rev. 20:4) Theirs is a “resurrection of life,” and the “good things” referred to in their case are those they did before they died.
But what about “those in the memorial tombs” who are resurrected as humans on earth? Will it be determined immediately after their resurrection that theirs is a “resurrection of life” or a “resurrection of [condemnatory] judgment”? (Compare John 5:24 with Joh 5 verse 29.) What good purpose would be served by raising from the dead millions of persons whose former lives were filled with vile deeds, only to tell them that they are vile and then execute them? The indication of the Scriptures is that when Haʹdes gives up those dead in it, they will be ‘judged individually according to the deeds’ they do following their resurrection. (Rev. 20:13) The resurrection will afford them an opportunity to live.
As the apostle Paul wrote in Hebrews 9:27, 28, “it is reserved for men to die once for all time” due to Adamic sin, “but after this a judgment” that is made possible by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ and that affords men the opportunity for “salvation.” Those who formerly did good things will no doubt find it easier to continue in that course, and, if they keep on doing good right on through the final test following Christ’s thousand-year rule, it will be shown that theirs was a “resurrection of life.” Those who formerly did vile things will be granted the opportunity to change their ways and gain salvation, but in the case of those who do not do so, it will become evident, at the time of that final test at the latest, that theirs was a ‘resurrection of condemnatory judgment.’
Now, what if Jesus had phrased his statement differently, saying very plainly that the deeds on which individuals would be judged would all be those performed after their resurrection? Had he done this, he would have been leaving out those who would gain heavenly life with him. Instead, by using an elliptical expression, he included “all those in the memorial tombs.” After first referring to the resurrection as one general accomplishment, he apparently cuts through all the in-between details, takes a future viewpoint of the matter when one’s past during the millennium must be judicially reviewed, and states the situation as it will exist at the time of the giving of final reward to those who are raised, namely, “those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.”
Faithfulness and loyalty are qualities that all servants of Jehovah God need. As they carry on their ministry, preaching God’s Word, they find that they are called on to demonstrate these qualities every day. This will continue to be true during July as Jehovah’s witnesses call on people everywhere to point out from the Bible the dangers of false religion and the blessings of God’s kingdom. To aid truth seekers, they will offer Bible-study publications on a nominal contribution.
“WORD OF TRUTH” DISTRICT ASSEMBLIES
The grandest series of Christian assemblies to date! If you have not attended yet, you will want to be there. Conventions in the following cities are still future: Canada: Peterborough, Ont.; Brandon, Man.; Kitchener, Ont.; Quebec, Que.; Calgary, Alta.; Saint John, N.B.; London, Ont.; Sydney, N.S. United States: Wailuku, Maui, and Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii; Fairbanks, Alaska; Lubbock, Tex.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Corpus Christi, Tex.; Memphis, Tenn.; Odessa, Tex.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Nashville, Tenn.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; New York, N.Y. For information, write the publishers of The Watchtower or inquire at the nearest Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
August 15: Jehovah’s Advancing Organization. Page 424.
August 22: Do Not Resist Jehovah’s Counsel. Page 430.