work. It hurt to leave our beautiful Kingdom Farm where Gilead School was located. The place and its inhabitants had endeared themselves to us so very much. But we have found Bethel, even more than before, a place that is truly, as some persons have said, “simply out of this world.” One must live and work here to appreciate fully the astoundingly smooth efficiency and the fine cooperative Christian spirit of its organization. No one is driven, overseers are inconspicuous and yet the place is humming with great activity and is amazingly productive.
Thus far in all my many and varied service assignments since 1913 every change has been gratefully seen, in time, as one for the better. Never before did we have it as good as now in our dear Bethel home. Another change for the better, we think, could only be heaven itself.
I am in my seventy-seventh year now and, understandably, I tire easily, but I do not feel at all like retiring now or ever. My spirit has retained freshness and enthusiasm for everything that is true, good, lovable and beautiful. As it is written: “The righteous . . . will blossom forth as a palm tree does . . . They will still keep on thriving during gray-headedness . . . to tell that Jehovah is upright.” (Ps. 92:12-15) I cannot do great things, but I can keep on doing small things devotedly. I am fully aware that I have been merely a “good-for-nothing” slave and that all I have done in the Master’s service is what I ought to have done.—Luke 17:10.
When surveying my Kingdom service over the years, I realize that it has had its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows, all for my testing and refinement. At times the thrilling ascent on God’s Mountain has been very steep and hazardous. True, I stumbled at times and got hurt, but with the strong help of our merciful Mountain Guide I always got up again, and with renewed courage and carefulness resumed to climb upward. I can truly testify that not one of God’s gracious promises to me has failed. They have all come true. (Josh. 23:14) To play a humble supporting part in the grand universal drama of Jehovah’s vindication, I esteem an inestimable and unspeakable privilege. I realize that, before I began to behold God’s light of truth, I was groping in the darkness of the valley of death and merely existed. Since the time I dedicated my life to our great heavenly Father, through the merit of my Savior and King, I have truly lived a full and joyful life, one worth living. My most ardent desire and my highest hope is not to be great in the kingdom of heaven, but to see God and to be forever close to him and to my Savior. That is why I have given up all I had, which was O so little, in order to gain the crown of life and, above all, Jehovah as my eternal Friend.
Questions From Readers
● Can 2 Corinthians 5:16 be used to establish that Jesus would not return in the flesh?—C. N., England.
The text in question reads: “Consequently from now on we know no man according to the flesh. Even if we have known Christ according to the flesh, certainly we now know him so no more.” The primary meaning of these words can best be understood if we first determine what the apostle Paul was proving in the context.
At 2 Corinthians 5:14 the apostle indicated that Christ had died as a ransom sacrifice for all. His sacrifice did not cover just the Jews or benefit only Gentiles. No, but all who would accept him and exercise faith might live because of him. (Gal. 3:8, 11) Since Jesus died for all, it would be improper for Christians to view persons on a human or fleshly basis, looking down on some because they were Gentiles or had a low station in life, or looking up to others because they were Jews or held some prominent position. This attitude based on external, fleshly appearances was a thing of the past for those who became Christians.
Then Paul concluded in 2 Co 5 verse 16 that anointed Christians would now know no man according to the flesh. The important spiritual relationship they could have with their brothers was the important thing. Jesus showed the same view at Matthew 12:47-50. He emphasized the spiritual relationship he had with those who accepted him as the Messiah.
Finally, Paul spoke about those who knew Jesus according to the flesh. He did not necessarily mean just persons who had personally seen Jesus with their physical eyes, since some, many or all the members of the Corinthian congregation, never saw Jesus as a human. Rather, he meant that even if individuals, such as Jews who hoped in the Messiah to restore an earthly kingdom, at one time had looked at Christ only on the basis of his flesh, Christians no longer would do so. All this was changed by the fact that Christ not merely “died for them” but was also “raised up.”—2 Cor. 5:14, 15.
While this is the primary point the writer was establishing in 2 Corinthians 5:16, it is also proof that Jesus would not return again in the flesh, because we cannot separate the change of knowing Christ and his followers from Christ’s resurrection, his being “raised up” from death. If he had been raised up flesh and blood, unable to go to heaven and sit at God’s right hand, he would not have been the Christ or Messiah. (1 Cor. 15:50; Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:32-36) In that case he would still have to be known according to the flesh.
Well, how was he raised from the dead? The apostle knew, for in his first letter to the same Corinthian congregation he told them that Jesus was resurrected a life-giving spirit. (1 Cor. 15:45) And in this second letter he said that anointed Christians would have to give up their fleshly bodies in order to receive immortality. (2 Cor. 5:1-4) Also, he appreciated that Jesus had given his fleshly body as a ransom and could not take it back in resurrection without nullifying the ransom. (Heb. 9:28; 10:10) Yes, without question, the apostle Paul realized that no human would see Christ in the flesh again. So in a double sense Paul could state that humans would know Jesus according to the flesh no longer. And for this reason this text can be used to establish that Christ’s return would not be visible and fleshly.
Before his ascension to heaven, the Lord Jesus instructed his followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of people . . . teaching them.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) It is in obedience to that command that Jehovah’s witnesses call at your door. Yes, they are teachers of the things that are recorded in the Bible, and they offer their personal services free of charge. As a further aid to interested persons, during April they will be offering a year’s subscription for this fine Bible-study aid, The Watchtower, with three booklets, for just $1. Avail yourself of the opportunity to obtain it.
HOW STRONG IS YOUR FAITH?
In the crucial days ahead the faith of all Christians will be tried to the limit. How strong is your faith? If it is to be an unwavering faith you must be fed the pure Word of God regularly. No magazine is so dedicated to this lofty purpose as is The Watchtower. This is proved each year as thousands of its newer readers dedicate their lives to God, relying in faith on God’s promise to direct their steps in security. You can share this joy this coming year by subscribing now. One year, one dollar. Order now and obtain three free booklets on Bible topics.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
May 14: Mankind’s Millennium Under God’s Kingdom—Why Literally So, ¶1-24. Page 229. Songs to Be Used: 61, 117.
May 21: Mankind’s Millennium Under God’s Kingdom—Why Literally So, ¶25-31; and The Benefits of Mankind’s Millennium, ¶1-23. Page 235. Songs to Be Used: 92, 78.