“I notice plainly that worldly people get their happiness from these possessions, all these material things they have. If these things were suddenly swept away, their happiness would go with them, and they just couldn’t live on.
“But, of course, we must not be like that. It’s not wrong to have a nice car and those good things of life. They can be had and enjoyed and be perfectly harmless, provided that we never make them the main source of our happiness and pleasure. And I know we will not do that if we put the spiritual things in their right place, that is, in the front.
“So that’s my impression on my coming into a different world, to see that there is prosperity, but there is also the need for care that that prosperity does not become a stumbling stone and cause us to fall.”
Hearty applause from the tens of thousands present showed that they appreciated this timely advice and agreed with it. They were also happy to receive the expressions of warm love and greetings that Brother Jones brought them from the brothers in Hong Kong, Japan and Honolulu, but they were especially moved by his concluding words as he said:
“Finally, I feel this, that if those few brothers still there in China knew that I was here talking to you today, they too would want me to express their love and good wishes to you all.”
The two-hour meeting drew to its close as sustained applause swept through the stadium. Following a song and prayer the crowd began to disperse and head for their homes in many places. They had learned much, and surely prayers would go up from thousands of lips and hearts on behalf of their brothers and sisters still in Communist China who are endeavoring to remain firm in faith.
Questions From Readers
● What did the apostle Peter mean when he said that “no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation”?—E. M., U.S.A.
The apostle Peter wrote in reference to prophecy: “You know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—2 Pet. 1:20, 21.
The writer was not considering the application, meaning or interpretation of previously written prophecies. The context shows that he was discussing the surety of the prophetic word, why Christians can depend upon it. (2 Pet. 1:16-19) He then pointed out that they can have confidence in the prophecies recorded in the Scriptures because their source was not men’s imagination but Jehovah God himself.
For example, humans could of themselves observe the political or social conditions in some country and, on the basis of their own interpretation of the data, make some prediction for the future. Such a private interpretation and the subsequent prophecy would not be inspired of God. This occurred with four hundred false prophets during the reign of King Ahab of Israel. When asked whether Ahab and Jehoshaphat should fight against Ramoth-gilead, the professional prophets prophesied success for the two kings. (2 Chron. 18:4-11) That prophecy was the result of their personal interpretation of the situation.
In contrast, Jehovah’s prophet Micaiah foretold that Ahab would not return in peace. Was that a prophecy springing from his personal interpretation? No; before speaking with Ahab, Micaiah said: “What my God will say, that is what I shall speak.” (2 Chron. 18:13-27) The death of Ahab in battle proved undeniably that the prediction of the false prophets was based only on their own imperfect human reasoning. On the other hand, Jehovah’s prophet Micaiah did not make any private interpretation of events, but Jehovah was the one who made the decision regarding matters; consequently the prophecy he gave through Micaiah was accurate and came true.