refer to one’s being over a business or an office, as at Acts 6:3, where we read of the apostles searching out seven qualified brothers to “appoint them over this necessary business.” See also Acts 8:27; 12:20.
So in Revelation 5:10 it refers to being over the earth as rulers, not being exactly on the earth, because the rest of Revelation as well as other texts of the Christian Greek Scriptures show that Jesus Christ and his joint heirs of the Kingdom will rule in heaven, which is the throne of God, whereas the earth is merely the footstool and therefore not the place for the glorified Christ to rule. Consistent translators who render things contextually will therefore render this expression in Revelation 5:10 as “over the earth.” Thus the Complete Bible in Modern English by Ferrar Fenton renders the verse: “And have made them into a Kingdom and priests for our God; and they will reign over the earth.” See also An American Translation by Edgar Goodspeed and J. M. P. Smith.
The above instance drives home the truth that the Bible cannot be properly translated without knowledge and understanding of the purposes of God.
● Why do Jehovah’s witnesses take the number 144,000 at Revelation 7 literally and not symbolically as they do other numbers in the book of Revelation?—G. S., U.S.A.
Not all the numbers in the book of Revelation are to be understood symbolically. The seven seals and seven bowls were literally seven, as shown by Light, Books I and II. (Rev. 5:1; 16:1) The forty-two months and the 1,260 days had literal fulfillments, even as will the thousand years of Christ’s reign. (Rev. 11:2; 12:6; 20:2, 3, 6, 7) As for the number 144,000 it is reasonable to take this number literally because of its being contrasted with the “great crowd” that no man was able to number. (Rev. 7:9) Further, at Revelation 14:1, 3, we read of Jesus Christ as standing upon the mount Zion together with 144,000 others. The 144,000 would logically be as literal as the 1, making a total of 144,001 standing upon the mount. Besides, why give such a large and specific number if it does not impart information?
Apparently those who have difficulty in accepting this number as being literal are those who believe that heaven is the destiny of all gaining salvation. However, when we realize that only the spiritual seed of Abraham, Christ and those who “belong to Christ,” will receive the heavenly reward, whereas the vast majority of humankind will enjoy everlasting life on earth as members of all the nations that will bless themselves in Abraham’s seed, then the number 144,000 presents no problem. (Gen. 22:17, 18; Gal. 3:16, 29) Further, did not Jesus state that the number of those gaining the heavenly reward would be small? “Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.” Compared to the billions of mankind that will eventually fill the earth, the 144,000 are relatively few.—Luke 12:32.
As workers together with the Right Shepherd Christ Jesus and his Great Shepherd Jehovah God, we know we must be ‘tending our shepherd’s flock skillfully.’ (Ps. 78:72) Throughout June extend help to “other sheep” by presenting the book From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained and a booklet, on a contribution of 75c.
NOW AVAILABLE IN EIGHT LANGUAGES
The popular Bible-study aid From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained is now available in the following eight languages: English, Cinyanja, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish. Order your copy in any one of the eight languages for only 75c and receive free a timely booklet on a Bible topic.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
July 24: The Power of Kindness. Page 361.
July 31: Showing Kindness to All Men. Page 367.