I AM serving as a special pioneer in our congregation at Coatepeque, Quezaltenango, Guatemala. On visiting for the first time a neighboring village, Flores Costa Cuca, I tried to present the sermon and offer the literature to a young man who was just leaving the post office. He seemed to be in a hurry. As he was mounting his horse he told me that if they were religious books he was not interested. But he did think it strange that I offered the books on such a reasonable contribution.
Two weeks passed and I returned to this small village, finding him working in a field a mile or so from town. We went up to his porch to talk. Although he was polite and kind, it seemed I could not make any headway in explaining the purpose of my visit. The only thing we agreed to was that I should call again the next time I visited this village.
From that day on I visited him regularly. More than once we studied right where he was working, laying cement and making walks. For chairs we used two big stones; our shade came from the trees. One of the things he appreciated was my holding the study to one hour. He always knew just how much time would be used. Our regular studies continued for two years.
My greatest difficulty regarding him was his marked indifference. It did not seem to mean anything to him whether there is a burning hell or a trinity of gods or not. Then one day a Protestant organization invited him to a special meeting and presented him with some literature condemning the Watch Tower Society and our work. Immediately he reacted! Now the questions came. Now there was detailed investigation on his part. Now he wanted to know the truth!
He not only studied but shared his findings. Some months later, during the visit of our circuit servant, my friend was baptized in symbol of his dedication to Jehovah God. Patiently he explained the whys and wherefores of the truth to his family, but his parents did not even believe that he was studying the real Bible! Quickly he brought home the Nacar-Colunga (Catholic) version and convinced them.
About a week later, things began to happen. His family suddenly discarded all their wooden images and pictures of saints. Even his helper, a very sincere Catholic, began to study.
My new brother in the faith began studying with others. Today there is a congregation service center in his home with five dedicated brothers attending. Three of them have been vacation pioneers, including the one with whom I studied, in spite of the fact that he is a polio cripple.
A short time ago our brother said to me, “By the undeserved kindness of Jehovah and because of the perseverance of his servants, now I know, not only that he exists, above all things, but I understand why I am here, alive, and what he requires of me. I have faith and, what is more, I can give a reason for my faith. I know the truth.”
Certainly Jehovah blesses our perseverance when we serve him in love.
Questions From Readers
● On what basis can it be shown that the genealogy recorded in Matthew, chapter 1, applies to Jesus’ ancestry through Joseph, his foster father, while that recorded by Luke, in Lu chapter 3, applies to the genealogy through Mary, his mother?
After both name David, the two genealogies do not agree in the names of descendants, and Luke’s genealogy has fifteen more names than Matthew’s does. Plainly they are not the same genealogies, although both finally include Joseph the husband of Mary. But Matthew’s genealogy begins at the opposite end from that of Luke. Luke begins with Jesus and runs back to Abraham and on back to Adam. Matthew begins with Abraham and runs down to Jesus, and he leaves out the names of a number of men in between. Matthew therefore concerns himself with tracing the genealogy man by man, or male by male, and he does not include women indirectly. He does not wish them to be understood as really necessary but unmentioned links in the genealogy. This is shown by the fact that, where he does have a woman in mind, he directly names the woman, saying: “Judah became father to Perez and to Zerah by Tamar,” and, “Salmon became father to Boaz by Rahab,” and, “Boaz became father to Obed by Ruth.” Neither Tamar, Rahab nor Ruth were descendants of Abraham. Hence it had to be through their husbands that the line of descent was carried along unbroken from Abraham.
Unlike Matthew, Luke mentions no women directly. This suggests that women may be understood in the line of descent, in which case their husbands would be merely the sons-in-law and not the direct sons of the previous man in the line of descent. Jewish genealogies were always traced through the males in the marriage union. Hence in such cases the son-in-law would be called the son of his father-in-law. That something unmentioned is to be understood is indicated at the very start of Luke’s genealogy, for it begins by saying: “Jesus himself . . . being the son, as the opinion was, of Joseph.” Joseph was merely the foster or adoptive father of Jesus, whereas God was the Father of Jesus and Mary his earthly mother. Matthew says regarding Joseph, “Jacob became father to Joseph the husband of Mary.” (Matt. 1:16) But Luke 3:23 says that Joseph was “the son of Heli.” Hence it must be understood that Joseph, the son of Jacob, was merely the son-in-law of Heli, because his wife Mary was the daughter of Heli.
By being the son of Mary Jesus was the direct natural descendant of David. By being the foster or adoptive son of Joseph Jesus was the legal descendant and heir of David. It was not enough for Jesus to be a legal heir of King David and to be merely adopted into the line of descent from David. Jesus had to be a direct, flesh-and-blood descendant of David. Hence it was necessary for the descent of Jesus’ natural mother Mary to be direct from David. Luke proves this point about Mary and in that way shows that Jesus was a direct descendant of David and thus had a natural claim upon David’s throne. Matthew’s genealogy shows that Jesus had only a legal claim to it.
● On page 53 of the book “Let Your Name Be Sanctified” appears the statement: “While Enoch was in a trance he had a vision of the coming new world in which ‘death will be no more,’ and during this vision God cut short Enoch’s life and took his dead body where religious enemies could not find it.” What is the Scriptural basis for this statement?—M. Y., U.S.A.
Enoch was a bold proclaimer of Jehovah’s judgments against the ungodly men of his day. “Yes, the seventh man in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding them, when he said: ‘Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.’” (Jude 14, 15) Those who speak against God also hate his servants and persecute them. Since these ungodly persons stand condemned by the proclamation of Jehovah’s judgments, they try to get their hands on the ones who proclaim these judgments to do away with them. Such persecution was not something that came into existence only in a later day. According to Jesus, it began in the days of Abel, the son of Adam. (Matt. 23:34, 35) But in the case of Enoch, Jehovah God did not allow his religious enemies to do away with him. As stated at Genesis 5:24: “Enoch kept walking with the true God. Then he was no more, for God took him.” Apparently even his body was nowhere to be found; it was not left to be abused by his religious enemies. “God took him.” It seems that in his case God disposed of his body just as he did the body of Moses, regarding which body Michael had a dispute with Satan.—Deut. 34:5, 6; Jude 9.
As for Enoch’s life being cut short while he had a vision, this is based on Paul’s remarks at Hebrews 11:5, which reads: “By faith Enoch was transferred so as not to see death, and he was nowhere to be found because God had transferred him; for before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well.” That these words do not mean that Enoch was taken to heaven, as is generally held in Christendom, is apparent from the following Scriptural testimony:
At Matthew 11:11 are recorded Jesus’ words that there had not risen one greater than