God sits above the circle of the earth, then the word “circle” here is in the same Hebrew sense as that found in Job 22:14.
Thus it follows that the word “circle” in Isaiah 40:22 must mean something that is rotund, just as the appearance of the sky viewed from the earth is rotund and like a vault.
● If the Bible teaches that heaven is “up” (Acts 1:9), does it not convey an ignorance of earth’s rotation and the structure of the universe?—C. P., U.S.A.
The Bible account of Jesus’ ascension states that while his disciples “were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their vision.” They continued looking into the sky until advised otherwise by the angels, who informed them that “Jesus who was received up from you into the sky will come thus in the same manner as you have beheld him going into the sky.” (Acts 1:9-11) Some have raised objections to the account of the ascension, saying that it conveys the primitive concept that heaven is “up” from the earth. However, to satisfy such critics would, in effect, require the virtual elimination of the words “up,” “above,” and so forth, from human language. Even in this space age, we still read of astronauts orbiting the earth as having “ascended to 739 nautical miles” above the earth (New York Times, September 16, 1966), whereas we know that technically they “moved out or away” from the earth’s surface that distance.
Interestingly, the account of the angelic delegation that chorused the announcement of Jesus’ birth reports that, when their mission was completed, “the angels had departed from them into heaven.” (Luke 2:15; compare Acts 12:10.) Thus Jesus’ ascension, while beginning with an upward movement, as related to the earthly locality where his disciples were, may have thereafter taken any direction required to bring him into his Father’s heavenly presence. It was an ascension, not only in a directional sense, but, more importantly, as to the sphere of activity and level of existence in the spirit realm and in the lofty presence of the Most High God, a realm not governed by human dimensions or directions.—Compare Hebrews 2:7, 9.
The true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are builders. They build up Christian personalities on the right foundation of Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3:11-13) They know that among the problems that hinder some from being built into Christian personalities is failure to understand why God has permitted wickedness. Some persons, stumbling over this issue, have become easy prey for such teachings as evolution. These persons need help, and Jehovah’s witnesses have the means to help them—a recently released, delightfully illustrated book that discusses both evolution and God’s permission of wickedness. This enlightening volume entitled “Did Man Get Here by Evolution or by Creation?” they are offering to all sincere seekers of truth during November, along with a booklet, for only 25c.
WILL MAN EVER BE FREE?
The greatest cry in the world today is the cry for freedom. Everyone wants to be free: youth, the workingman, racial minorities, nations. Yet the stronger the struggle, the more men seem to be enslaved. How is freedom to be realized? Will the shackles that have enslaved mankind for centuries ever really be broken? What hope does the future hold? Read the stimulating and encouraging hardbound book Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God. It is only 50c. Send now and receive free the timely booklet Healing of the Nations Has Drawn Near.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
November 19: “Let God Arise, Let His Enemies Be Scattered,” ¶1-19. Page 649. Songs to Be Used: 16, 116.
November 26: “Let God Arise, Let His Enemies Be Scattered,” ¶20-26, and God’s Ascent on High Above All Enemies, ¶1-12. Page 653. Songs to Be Used: 114, 3.
December 3: God’s Ascent on High Above All Enemies, ¶13-31. Page 658. Songs to Be Used: 90, 2.