Chapter 6. Teaching about salvation

Autor's: Włodzimierz Bednarski
Szymon Matusiak

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Chapter 6. Teaching about salvation


Earthly class i.e. “other sheep”


Earthly class – two classes and one


In 1917, the book The Finished Mystery asserted that there are “two degrees or kinds of Heavenly salvation, and two degrees or kinds of earthly salvation.” Who made up the four groups of people with those different hopes for salvation? First, there were the 144,000, who would rule with Christ. Second, there was the great multitude. Back then, the idea was that these were nominal Christians who were still in the churches of Christendom. They had a measure of faith but not enough to take a firm stand of integrity. Therefore, they would be given lesser positions in heaven. As to the earth, it was thought that a third group, the “ancient worthies”—such faithful ones as Abraham, Moses, and others—would have positions of authority over the fourth group, the world of mankind. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 52).


The people of the Kingdom will be first the resurrected Hebrews, making progress during the 1,000 years toward human perfection, but who in previous ages had not been consecrated, to God and had been far astray from Him. (Romans 1.) (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 576).


This salvation with two destinies, heavenly and earthly, is mentioned in a vision seen by the apostle John. (The Watchtower August 15, 2006 p. 6-7).


Earthly class will appear in the Millennium and the number of its members


As for the opportunity to live in a restored earthly paradise, the Bible Students believed that this would be extended to people only after all the little flock had received their reward and the millennial age had been fully ushered in. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 162).


The cubit, in symbolism, is flexible in length, like the word “day.” If we multiply the number of square furlongs in any wall by the 144 measures of a man, i. e., 144,000,000 x 144, the result is 20,736,000,000, the estimated number of the sheep class at the end of the Millennial Age. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 323).


Thus, in the year 1929, more attention and interest were being paid to the natural, circumcised Jews than to the “sheep” of Jesus’ parable on the sheep and the goats. These “sheep” were made secondary to the Jews, and after Armageddon they were to line up under the Jews. (The Watchtower February 15, 1966 p. 118).


Earthly class has already appeared, but the members were not initially considered to be Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses


In 1923, during a convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., it was explained that those sheep must make their appearance, not during the Millennium, but during the concluding days of this system of things. (Isaiah’s Prophecy—Light for All Mankind II 2001 p. 254).


A CHRISTIAN is one who is anointed by Jehovah through Christ Jesus and who is therefore a follower of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Head of all true Christians, and therefore the true Christians constitute the members of his body. (Col. 1: 18) (The Watchtower August 15, 1935 p. 252).


At that time the Jonadabs were not considered to be “Jehovah’s witnesses.” (See The Watchtower, August 15, 1934, page 249.) However, a few years later, The Watchtower of July 1, 1942, stated: “These ‘other sheep’ [Jonadabs] become witnesses for Him, on the same wise that the faithful men before Christ’s death, from John the Baptist all the way back to Abel, were the never-quitting witnesses for Jehovah.” (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 83).


The new, ‘higher’ earthly class since 1992


As explained in this issue of The Watchtower, there is a group serving with spiritual Israel today that is comparable to the Nethinim and the sons of the servants of Solomon who returned from Babylonian exile with the Jewish remnant; those non-Israelites even outnumbered the returning Levites. (Ezra 2:40-58; 8:15-20) “Given ones” from among today’s great crowd are mature Christian men who have had considerable experience as a result of caring for oversight in branches, in the traveling work, and among the 66,000 congregations now established throughout the earth. (The Watchtower April 15, 1992 p. 31).


Earthly class as managers in the Watchtower Society, subordinated to the Governing Body


AT THE conclusion of the annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania on October 7, 2000, a special announcement was made by the chairman, John E. Barr of the Governing Body. (...) Nor is there any Scriptural reason to insist that all or any of the directors of the legal entities used by Jehovah’s Witnesses be anointed Christians. Brother Barr told the audience that recently certain members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses who had been serving as directors and officers voluntarily stepped aside from the boards of directors of all the corporations used by “the faithful and discreet slave” in the United States. Responsible brothers of the other sheep class were elected as replacements. (The Watchtower January 15, 2001 p. 31).


Horsemen from Revelation 9:16


The horsemen are Protestants


(...) 177,300,000, were Protestants.

[Rev.] 9:16. And the number of the army of the horsemen. — In round numbers, at the time of identification.

Were two hundred thousand thousand. — Approximately two hundred millions. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 164).


Horsemen are angels and members of the heavenly class


These armies doubtless include the myriads of angels, as well as a little company of people on earth. (Light 1930, Vol. 1, p. 165).


The horsemen are the literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses


The discourse “Final Woes to Enemies of Peace with God” was a meaty one, based on Revelation chapters 8 through 11. It discussed the significance of the blowing of each of the seven symbolic trumpets there spoken of. Among other things it showed that the 200 million symbolic horses mentioned at Revelation 9:16 refer to the printed literature used in pouring out figurative plagues upon Christendom and the world’s radical elements. This serves to plague them by telling them of the fiery destruction sure to come upon them. (The Watchtower September 1, 1969 p. 521).


Horsemen are members of the heavenly class and Jehovah’s Witnesses earthly class


What do these powerful horses represent? Since they number into the millions, they could not just be the anointed remnant, of whom there are now only about 8,800 on earth. These myriads of horses must include the “great crowd” of Revelation chapter 7, those who have the hope of living forever on earth. (The Watchtower April  1, 1989 p. 19).


Number of folds


Two folds: “anointed” and other sheep gathered during the Millennium


That those who are to be saved are not confined to the ones who go to heaven Jesus proved when he said: "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice." (John 10:16) "This fold" means the church; and after this class is selected, then all must have an opportunity to come into the fold of Christ. (The Harp of God 1921 pp. 338-339; 1928 p. 345).


Two flocks: “anointed” and other sheep already gathered


There are two destinies for different ones of the followers of Jesus Christ. This is indicated by the fact that the Scriptures tell of both heavenly glory and earthly paradisaic conditions to be enjoyed by God’s people. (Rev. 20:4, 6; 21:3, 4) Jesus spoke of these two classes as two folds that eventually become one flock. (John 10:16) (The Watchtower March 1, 1977 p. 138).


Two folds: the Old Covenant fold and the New Covenant fold


One talk sent over the telephone hookup was “The Fine Shepherd and His Two Folds.” It clarified the point that John 10:1-6 refers to the Law covenant fold, whereas John 10:7-16 pertains to the new covenant fold. Particularly since 1935 have the “other sheep” been joyfully serving with those in the new covenant fold as one flock under the “fine shepherd,” Jesus Christ. (The Watchtower January 15, 1984 p. 29).


Three folds: the Jews, the anointed, the other sheep


From another ray of light, it was seen that Jesus referred not to just two but to three sheepfolds. (John, chapter 10) These were (1) the Jewish sheepfold of which John the Baptizer was the doorkeeper, (2) the fold of anointed Kingdom heirs, and (3) the fold of the “other sheep,” who have an earthly hope.—John 10:2, 3, 15, 16; The Watchtower, February 15, 1984, pages 10-20. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 24).


Heaven and heavenly classes


But the Bible says that only 144,000 will go to heaven to be with Christ. Have you ever seen that in the Bible? . . . It is here at Revelation 14:1, 3.’ (Reasoning From the Scriptures 1989 p. 361).


Other heavenly classes


For many years the Bible Students thought that this was the group described at Revelation 7:9, 14 (KJ), which refers to “a great multitude” that come out of great tribulation and stand “before the throne” of God and before the Lamb, Jesus Christ. They reasoned that although these shunned a life of self-sacrifice, they would be confronted with trials of faith ending in death during a time of tribulation after the glorification of the final ones of the bride of Christ. They believed that if these who were said to be of the great multitude were faithful at that time, they would be resurrected to heavenly life—not to rule as kings but to take a position before the throne. It was reasoned that they would be given such secondary positions because their love for the Lord had not been sufficiently fervent, because they had not shown enough zeal. It was thought that these were people who had been begotten by God’s spirit but had been negligent about obeying God, possibly continuing to cling to Christendom’s churches.

They also thought that perhaps—just perhaps—the “ancient worthies” who would serve as princes on the earth during the millennial era would, at the end of that time, somehow be granted heavenly life. (Ps. 45:16) They reasoned that a similar prospect might await any who “consecrated” themselves after the 144,000 Kingdom heirs had all been finally chosen but before the time of restitution on earth began. In a limited way, this was a carryover from Christendom’s view that all those who are good enough go to heaven. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 161).


In 1917, the book The Finished Mystery asserted that there are “two degrees or kinds of Heavenly salvation, and two degrees or kinds of earthly salvation.” Who made up the four groups of people with those different hopes for salvation? First, there were the 144,000, who would rule with Christ. Second, there was the great multitude. Back then, the idea was that these were nominal Christians who were still in the churches of Christendom. They had a measure of faith but not enough to take a firm stand of integrity. Therefore, they would be given lesser positions in heaven. As to the earth, it was thought that a third group, the “ancient worthies”—such faithful ones as Abraham, Moses, and others—would have positions of authority over the fourth group, the world of mankind. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 52).


“A great multitude” in heaven and on earth


We will see in Chapter 5 that prior to 1935, it was thought that the “great multitude,” as described at Revelation 7:9, 10 in the King James Version, would include countless members of the churches of Christendom and that they would be made a secondary heavenly class as a reward for siding with Christ at the very end. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 17).


The number of the Great Company will apparently exceed one hundred millions. Num. 4:46-48 and Ex. 28:1 indicate but one priest to each 2,860 Levites, which would make the number of the Great Company approximate 411,840,000. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 103).


They will be a great police force, looking out for the whole people. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 141).


In 1935 the Watchower Society stated that the “great multitude” will live on earth instead of heaven, and it is not a Spirit-begotten class:


Revelation 7:15 really is the key to the identification of the great multitude. In error we have heretofore taken a position that the great multitude is a spirit-begotten class... (The Watchtower August 15, 1935 p. 248).


Who make up this great crowd, or “great multitude”?—KJ. For years, even down till 1935, they were not understood to be the same as the sheep in Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats. As already noted, it was thought that they were a secondary heavenly class—secondary because they had been negligent about obeying God. However, that view gave rise to persistent questions. Some of these were discussed early in 1935 at the noon meal at the Watch Tower Society’s headquarters. Some among those who expressed themselves at that time suggested that the great multitude was an earthly class. (...) Well, on Friday, May 31, 1935, at the Washington, D.C., convention, a satisfying answer was given. (...) Shortly after the convention, The Watchtower, in its issues of August 1 and 15, 1935, published what was stated in that talk. (...) Then, is the great crowd a heavenly class? The Watchtower showed that the language of the scripture did not point to such a conclusion. As to their location “before the throne,” it showed that Matthew 25:31, 32 tells of all nations being gathered before the throne of Christ, yet those nations are on earth. The great crowd, however, are “standing” before the throne because they have the approval of the One on the throne. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 166-167).


“Princes” in heaven and on earth


They also thought that perhaps—just perhaps—the “ancient worthies” who would serve as princes on the earth during the millennial era would, at the end of that time, somehow be granted heavenly life. (Ps. 45:16) (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 161).


Abraham, the father of the faithful, and his colleagues of like faithfulness, who have, under the supervision of the Christ, directed the people through their Millennial trial, have finished their earthly career and have been raised to a higher plane as spirit beings (The Harp of God 1921, 1927 p. 356).


The above passage was later changed in 1928 edition, and the relevant teaching was also changed:


Abraham, the father of the faithful, and his colleagues of like faithfulness, who have, under the supervision of the Christ, directed the people through their millennial trial, have faithfully performed their work, and will be greatly loved by the people. Having during that reign turned many to righteousness, they shine forth as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3) (The Harp of God 1928 p. 363-364).


In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews there is a long list of good men named. (...) On the contrary the Scriptures show that none of them ever went to heaven and never will be there. (Where are the Death? 1927 p. 11).


Who is represented by the number 144,000?


Original teaching – Jews


In June 1880, Zion’s Watch Tower suggested that the 144,000 would be fleshly Jews converted by 1914. However, later in 1880, an understanding was published that more closely corresponds to the one we have held consistently since then. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 51).


The apology for presenting this subject, is, that the return of the Jews, and the time of trouble are becoming apparent facts; and it is believed that the two facts will be the means, in the next 35 years, of the conversion of the 144,000 Jews. and the great multitude of all nations, who will come up out of or after the great tribulation, with their robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb-Rev. vii. (The Watchtower June 1880 p. 108, reprints).


The further teaching – the people of different beliefs and some outside of all of the churches


These faithful members of the Body of Christ are not confined to one denomination, but constitute the saintly ones of every church and outside of every human system. They are the "Wise Virgin" class... (Scenario of the Photo-Drama of Creation 1914 p. 88).


He also plainly taught that he was coming again at the end of the word to receive unto himself those who had been faithful, and that these should be taken to heaven. This class is made up of what are called true Christians. There have been some of these in the Catholic church, some in the Protestant church, and some outside of all of the churches. (Where are the Death? 1927 pp. 38-39).


Present teaching – people associated with the Watchtower Society


(...) the Watch Tower Society, the legal representative of the congregation of the anointed (The Watchtower September 1, 1983 p. 22).


To keep matters in proper perspective, however, it was pointed out that when The Watchtower referred to “The Society,” this meant, not a mere legal instrumentality, but the body of anointed Christians that had formed that legal entity and used it. Thus the expression stood for the faithful and discreet slave with its Governing Body. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 219).


When a calling to a body of 144,000 will cease?


Year 1881 – the end of calling


It was also reasoned that the end of God’s special favor to natural Israel down to 36 C.E. might point to 1881 as the time when the special opportunity to become part of spiritual Israel would close. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 632).


Year 1918 – the end of calling


That in 1881 a sufficient number had been called and begotten of the spirit to complete the foreordained 144,000, but that forthwith there was a great falling away, to such extent that between the years 1881 and 1918 there never was a sufficient number in the race at any one time to take up all the vacant or available crowns, until about springtime of last year, when again, for the first time since 1881, all available crowns were apportioned and no vacancies existed. (The Watchtower April  1, 1919 p. 6416, reprints).


Year 1931 – the end of calling


The 12 hours mentioned in the parable were thought to correspond to the 12 years from 1919 to 1931. For many years after that, it was believed that the call to the heavenly Kingdom had ended in 1931 and that those called to be joint heirs with Christ in 1930 and 1931 were “the last” called. (Matthew 20:6-8) However, in 1966 an adjusted understanding of that parable was presented, and it became clear that it had nothing to do with the end of the calling of the anointed. (The Watchtower May 1, 2007 p. 30).


Year 1935 – the end of calling


This seemed to be confirmed when almost all who were baptized after 1935 felt that they had the earthly hope. Thereafter, any called to the heavenly hope were believed to be replacements for anointed Christians who had proved unfaithful. (The Watchtower May 1, 2007 pp. 30-31).


Such anointed “sons” began to be invited at Pentecost 33 C.E. Jehovah’s Witnesses have long held that the evidence of God’s dealing with his people suggests that fundamentally the members of the heavenly class have been called (The Watchtower June 15, 1998 p. 30).


Since May 2007, calling to heaven is still in force


When does the calling of Christians to the heavenly hope end? The Bible does not supply a precise answer. (...) Some who were baptized after 1935 have had witness borne to them by holy spirit that they have the heavenly hope, so we cannot set a specific date for the end of that calling. (The Watchtower August 15, 2007 p. 19).


However, see the statement made in 1990:


If it turns out that none of the anointed are left on earth, there will be no reason for dissatisfaction. (The Watchtower August 15, 1990 p. 30).


Locusts from Revelation 9:3


Locusts are Methodists


Methodism damaged the Anglican communion as much as it did the Truth.

[Rev.] 9:3. And there came out of the smoke locusts. — An immense number of followers. — Judges 7:12. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 156).


Locusts are Jehovah’s Witnesses from a heavenly class


Jehovah’s Witnesses have long understood that the locusts of Revelation chapter 9 portray the anointed servants of God on earth in this century. (The Watchtower July 15, 1996 p. 23).


The difference between the heavenly and earthly hope


Then in 1952, The Watchtower on page 63 published a clarification of the distinction between the earthly hope and the heavenly hope. We came to realize that we did not have the hope of heavenly life, but that our hope was of life on a paradise earth. (The Watchtower April  1, 1989 p. 29).


How can one determine whether he is of the anointed class, and hence should partake of the Memorial emblems? (...) If you are one of the Jonadabs or one of the “great crowd” of good-will persons you will not be consumed by this heavenly hope. Some of the Jonadabs are very prominent in the Lord’s work and have an important part in it, but they do not have that hope when you talk to them. Their desires and hopes gravitate to the earthly things. They talk about the beautiful forests, how they would love to be a forester at the present time and have that as their continual surroundings, and they like to mingle with the animals and have dominion over them, and also the birds of the air and fish of the sea and everything that creeps over the face of the earth. That is what they love, and they are looking forward to enjoying those things. Oh, they understand their Bible. They have a very advanced comprehension of the doctrines and truths of the Bible. But when you talk to them, that is the way they express themselves. They have no desire for the heavenly things at all. They do not want to be like an angel, or even see God face to face, beholding him in his supernal glory. That would be wonderful, they admit, more so than any possible earthly blessings; but they just do not have such desires or hopes in them. (The Watchtower January 15, 1952 pp.63-64).


‘Mediation’ of deceased heavenly class members


Participation in the earthly work


Hence our dear Pastor, now in glory, is without doubt, manifesting a keen interest in the harvest work, and is permitted by the Lord to exercise some strong influence thereupon. (Revelation 14:17) It not unreasonable to conclude that he has been privileged to do, in connection with the harvest work, things which he could not do while with us. Although we recognize that the Lord is the great Master and Director of the harvest, yet we recognize that would privilege the saints beyond the veil to have a part in the work on this side; and thus all the saints, both in heaven and upon earth, are now given the honor of concluding the work on this side, preparatory to the full establishment of the kingdom of glory. (The Watchtower November 1, 1917 p. 6161, reprints).


Lack of participation in the earthly work


No one of the temple company will be so foolish as to conclude that some brother (or brethren) at one time amongst them, and who has died and gone to heaven, is now instructing the saints on earth and directing them as to their work. (Jehovah 1934 p. 191).


Sending from heaven the teachings for earthly class


What, then, can we deduce from the fact that one of the 24 elders identifies the great crowd to John? It seems that resurrected ones of the 24-elders group may be involved in the communicating of divine truths today. (The Watchtower January 1, 2007 p. 28).


Talents and a reward for the anointed


Award since 1874


Fall 1874 A.D. Second Advent of the Lord (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 60).


Besides the above Scriptures, time-proofs of the Lord’s Return, are the fulfilments of the promised signs: (...) the Master is reckoning with His servants (Matt. 25:19; F419) (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 pp. 69, 71).


Award since 1919 (the teaching since 1923)


1923, parable of pounds and talents... (Watch Tower Publications Index 1930-1985 1986 p. 228).


Former explanation: In 1919, Jesus rewarded his anointed slaves on earth by entrusting them with increased responsibility. (The Watchtower March 15, 2015 p. 24).


The award in the future in heaven (teaching from 2015)


Adjusted explanation: When Christ comes in the future, he will reward his faithful anointed slaves by raising them to heaven. (The Watchtower March 15, 2015 p. 24).


The shining of the anointed ones


The shining of the anointed in Matthew 13:43 – since 1918 and on the earth


At what time do the wheatlike ones “shine as brightly as the sun”? (Matt. 13:43) Concerning the cleansing of God’s temple, Malachi prophesied: “‘Suddenly there will come to His temple the true Lord, whom you people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom you are delighting. Look! He will certainly come,’ Jehovah of armies has said. ‘But who will be putting up with the day of his coming, and who will be the one standing when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye of laundrymen. And he must sit as a refiner and cleanser of silver and must cleanse the sons of Levi; and he must clarify them like gold and like silver, and they will certainly become to Jehovah people presenting a gift offering in righteousness.’”—Mal. 3:1-3. In modern times, this prophecy evidently started to be fulfilled in 1918 when Jehovah, along with “the messenger of the covenant,” Jesus Christ, inspected the spiritual temple. (The Watchtower March 15, 2010 p. 23).


The shining of the anointed in Matthew 13:43 – in future and in “heavenly kingdom” (teaching since 2013)


Fifth, shining brightly. Jesus ends his prophecy by saying: “At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43) When and where will that be? The fulfillment of these words still lies ahead. Jesus foretold, not an activity currently taking place on earth, but a future event occurring in heaven*.

*Daniel 12:3 states that “the ones having insight [anointed Christians] will shine like the brightness of the expanse.” While still on earth, they do this by sharing in the preaching work. However, Matthew 13:43 points to the time when they will shine brightly in the heavenly Kingdom. Previously, we thought that both scriptures referred to the same activity—the preaching work. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 13).


Resurrection of man


The resurrection of the heavenly class (144 000)


Resurrection since 1875


The Resurrection. We now purpose to show that the time was due, and therefore the resurrection began, in the spring of 1875. Not the resurrection of the great mass of mankind, who are to be raised in the flesh, with the earthy, natural, or animal body; but the resurrection of those who, "sown a natural body, are raised a spiritual body;" and therefore, as invisible to us as the angels, or as Christ himself. (The Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World 1877 p. 108).


Resurrection since 1878


Based on the premise that events of the first century might find parallels in related events later, they also concluded that if Jesus’ baptism and anointing in the autumn of 29 C.E. paralleled the beginning of an invisible presence in 1874, then his riding into Jerusalem as King in the spring of 33 C.E. would point to the spring of 1878 as the time when he would assume his power as heavenly King. They also thought they would be given their heavenly reward at that time. When that did not occur, they concluded that since Jesus’ anointed followers were to share with him in the Kingdom, the resurrection to spirit life of those already sleeping in death began then. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 632).


Resurrection since 1918


This was in 1927. In that year the witnesses understood that the dead spiritual Israelites had been raised in 1918 to life in heaven with Christ Jesus. (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958 p. 192).


The apostle Paul indicated that those anointed Christians long asleep in their graves would be the first to be made alive and live with Christ Jesus in the spirit realm. Evidence has been presented over the years to show that this appears to have happened from 1918 onward. (The Watchtower May 1, 1993 p. 13).


Resurrection “probably” since 1918


Could it, then, be reasoned that since Jesus was enthroned in the fall of 1914, the resurrection of his faithful anointed followers began three and a half years later, in the spring of 1918? That is an interesting possibility. Although this cannot be directly confirmed in the Bible, it is not out of harmony with other scriptures that indicate that the first resurrection got under way soon after Christ’s presence began. (The Watchtower January 1, 2007 p. 28).


1918, (...) heavenly resurrection may begin (Watchtower Library 2014, Watch Tower Publications Index 1986-2014, Dates of Prophetic Significance).


Resurrection of the earthly class (other sheep)


The change of teaching on the number of resurrected people


And in 1965 there came a clearer understanding of the earthly resurrection and who might benefit from it.—John 5:28, 29. (The Watchtower May 15, 1986 p. 14).


Similarly with our study of the resurrection. (...) Those truths have not changed. But now we see that, according to the Scriptures, more are to return than we expected. So, rather than setting aside the truth of the resurrection, it has been magnified, and our appreciation of Jehovah’s love and mercy in providing for the resurrection has been enhanced. (The Watchtower October 1, 1966 p. 608).


We must be careful, though, not to speculate on whether a certain person will be resurrected or not. This judgment belongs to God. (The Watchtower March 15, 2006 p. 6).


The resurrection since 1925


(...) o about April 1, 1925, at which time we may expect the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies and the beginning of the blessing of all the families of the earth, living as well as dead. The last year of the 3,500 years will be itself a jubilee year witnessing the antitype, the great jubilee, of restitution. (Millions Now Living Will Never Die! 1920 p. 110).


At that time, there was a widely held view that pointed to 1925 as the year for the resurrection to begin and for Paradise to be restored to the earth. Thus, many were serving with a fixed date in mind. Some proudly refused to share in the work of preaching to the public. (Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! 1999 p. 303).


The resurrection within 25 years after 1925


Probably those of the righteous who will be carried through the great time of trouble will be dealt with first, before those in the graves will be brought forth. It does not seem unreasonable, therefore, to think that twenty-five years, possibly more, will pass before the awakening of the dead shall begin. (The Watchtower February 15, 1925 p. 58).


The resurrection within 50 years from the commencement of the reign in 1914


The Lord does not reveal just when the resurrection will begin; but it is reasonable to expect that the world, under the new King, will be ready to receive them within half a century after the beginning of his righteous reign. (A Desirable Government 1924 p. 37).


The resurrection before the twenty-first century


Seeing that this testimony is so clear, cogent and convincing, establishing the fact of the Lord's second presence, it can with confidence be said that the resurrection of the dead will soon begin. By the word “soon” we do not mean next year, but, we confidently believe, before another century passes away. That the restoration judgments of the living are just at hand, the evidences are convincing beyond a doubt. (Hell—What Is It? Who Are There? Can They Get Out? 1924 p. 54).


The resurrection of “princes” (the Old Testament saints)


Resurrection in 1914


By 1914, the faithful pre-Christian servants of God had not been resurrected on earth as princely representatives of the Messianic King, as had been expected, nor had the remaining ones of the “little flock” joined Christ in the heavenly Kingdom in that year. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 138).


Resurrection in 1925


Further, the widely circulated booklet Millions Now Living Will Never Die presented the view that in 1925, God’s purposes regarding the restoring of the earth to Paradise and the resurrecting of the faithful ones of old would begin to be fulfilled. The endurance of the anointed seemed to be nearly completed. (The Watchtower November 1, 1993 p. 11).


Resurrection within “few years”


Because Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the other faithful prophets described by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 11 are promised a better resurrection; (...) Hence these faithful men may be expected on earth within the next few years. They will constitute the legal representatives of the Christ in the earth. (The Harp of God 1921, 1927 p. 339-340).


Resurrection “within the life of the present generation”


Those faithful men mentioned in the Bible, from Abel to John the Baptist (Heb. 11), God will raise up out of death and give them life as perfect men. (...) In a very short time from now, and within the life of the present generation, these faithful men will be brought back and given perfect human life on the earth, and will assume the affairs of government to which they have been appointed, and therefore will be the visible governors amongst all the peoples of the earth. (The Kingdom, the Hope of the World 1931 p. 49).


Resurrection “any day now”


(...) and hence those faithful men of old may be expected back from the dead any day now. The Scriptures give good reason to believe that it shall be shortly before Armageddon breaks. In this expectation the house at San Diego, California, which house has been much publicized with malicious intent by the religious enemy, was built, in 1930, and named “Beth-Sarim”, meaning “House of the Princes”. It is now held in trust for the occupancy of those princes on their return. (The New World 1942 p. 104).


See Consolation 27.05 1942 p. 13 (and we may expect to see Daniel and the other mentioned princes any day now!); The Watchtower September 15, 1941 p. 275; The Watchtower February 1, 1942 p. 47; Hope 1942 p. 57.


Resurrection - last expectation in the forties of the twentieth century and in 1950


For some years now both the remnant and the great crowd of strangers or “other sheep” have been looking for the promised “princes” of the new earth to appear. (The Watchtower November 1, 1950 p. 414).


For years, Jehovah’s people thought that faithful men of old times, such as Abraham, Joseph and David, would be resurrected before the end of this wicked system of things. Those past servants of God were called “ancient worthies,” “faithful men of old” and “the princes.” (...) With that in mind, mentally join the 82,601 conventioners as they listened intently to F. W. Franz on Saturday evening, August 5, 1950. At a climactic point in his absorbing Scriptural talk he asked: “Would this international assembly be happy to know that HERE, TONIGHT, in our midst, there are a number of prospective PRINCES OF THE NEW EARTH?” What reactions there were to that query! Here are some vivid recollections: “I recall the gasp of amazement that swept the assembly, and we began looking around us expectantly . . . was David here, or Abraham, or Daniel, or Job? Many of us sisters had tears in our eyes!” (Grace A. Estep) “I was so excited I sat on the edge of my seat with my eyes glued on the dugout. I was certain that one or more of these men of old would emerge at any moment.” (Sister Dwight T. Kenyon) “People in the corridors rushed to the stadium entrances to view the speaker’s stand, perhaps expecting to see Abraham, David or maybe Moses. The audience stood up—the atmosphere was charged. I am sure that if someone with a long beard had walked to the platform there would have been no containing the crowd.”—L. E. Reusch. A profound silence next settled over the audience. Every ear seemed strained to lose none of the speaker’s words. He discussed the real meaning of the Hebrew word translated ‘prince.” He pointed out that today’s “other sheep” have suffered just as much for their faith as did Jehovah’s witnesses of old. Hence, nothing argues against Christ’s making these “other sheep” “princes in all the earth” as required. (Ps. 45:16; John 10:16) Then, concluding his discourse, Brother Franz said: “With the transporting prospects so close before us, oh! let us keep Theocratic organization and let God continue improving it as a New World society. Never may we look back to this modern Sodom, which is reserved for destruction, but we are determined to keep faces forward in full faith. Onward, then, steadily, all of us together, as a New World society!” (1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses pp. 213-214).


Resurrection after Armageddon, not before it


At the time, it was believed that faithful men of old times, such as Abraham, Joseph, and David, would be resurrected before the end of this system of things and would serve as “princes in all the earth,” in fulfillment of Psalm 45:16. This view was adjusted in 1950, when further study of the Scriptures indicated that those earthly forefathers of Jesus Christ would be resurrected after Armageddon.—See “The Watchtower,” November 1, 1950, pages 414-17 (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 76).


The resurrection of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah


They will be resurrected


Jesus said of them, in Matthew, chapter eleven: ‘It shall be more tolerable for the people of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.’ The people of Sodom were extremely immoral; but they were totally ignorant of God, and therefore God has promised that he will bring them out of the grave and give them a knowledge of the truth that they may have a trial under righteous conditions; and it will be easier for them in that day of judgment than it will be for the hypocritical clergy who knew Jesus and yet who willfully denied und persecuted him. (Health and Life 1932 p. 43).


They will not be resurrected


The people of the city of Sodom died by a rain of fire from heaven after receiving an unfavorable judgment. At other times other groups also have received an unfavorable judgment. They proved that they were not worthy of life, and they will not be resurrected. (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958 p. 236).


They will be resurrected


God’s dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah shows that he takes no pleasure in the death of anyone, but wants all to live, if they will just live respectfully toward their fellowman and in obedience to righteous principles. (Ezek. 33:11; Mic. 6:8) Moreover, God’s undeserved kindness and care are so great that he will bring back the people of Sodom by a resurrection, with opportunity to learn and turn around to the way of life, even as his Son stated.—Luke 10:11, 12; Matt. 11:24. (Awake! October 8, 1974 p. 20).


Some will be resurrected


Sodom, Gomorrah and surrounding cities furnished a warning example “by undergoing [Jehovah God’s] judicial punishment of everlasting fire,” eternal destruction. The charred ruins of at least Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim are thought to lie under the waters of the southern portion of the Salt (Dead) Sea or in that region. So neither they nor their inhabitants are still burning. Apparently the cities themselves, rather than all their inhabitants, were everlastingly destroyed, for it seems that at least some individuals once residing there will be resurrected. (Matthew 10:15; 11:24; Revelation 20:12, 13) (The Watchtower August 15, 1982 p. 26).


They will not be resurrected


Will such terribly wicked persons be resurrected during Judgment Day? The Scriptures indicate that apparently they will not. (...) Yes, for their excessive immorality the people of Sodom and of the surrounding cities suffered a destruction from which they will apparently never be resurrected.—2 Peter 2:4-6, 9, 10a. Jesus too indicated that the Sodomites may not be resurrected. (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth 1989 p. 179).


Resurrection of Adam and Eve


Adam and Eve will be resurrected


“Ransom” means an exact corresponding price, and the perfect man Jesus exactly corresponded to the perfect Adam and could become the ransomer. (What Is Truth? 1932 p. 57).


The one who becomes the redeemer or ransomer of Adam and his offspring must stand exactly in the position occupied by Adam prior to sinning and at the time he was perfect when in Eden, and before he had taken any wrongful steps whatever in the commission of sin. (Riches 1936 p. 18).


Adam and Eve will not be resurrected


There is no promise found in the Scriptures that Adam's redemption and resurrection and salvation will take place at any time. (Salvation 1939 p. 43).


Still, Jehovah can annihilate any rebel in the lake of fire, denying him any hope of a resurrection. That death would be like the death that Adam and Eve experienced, not the death that humans inherited from Adam. (The Watchtower August 15, 2006 p. 31).


Resurrection of unborn children


They will not be resurrected


Can a woman who has had a stillborn child reasonably expect the baby to be resurrected if she is faithful to God? (...) But a miscarried fetus or stillborn child, though from a Biblical standpoint considered a “soul” while it was developing, never actually lived as a separate and distinct individual. So it would appear that such situations do not fall under the resurrection provision outlined in the Bible.—Acts 24:15. We fully appreciate that this view might be most disappointing to some. But we can assure all that it is not offered out of callousness or dogmatism. Rather, we are simply replying frankly and honestly on the basis of what we find in God’s Word. We emphasize that we are not in position to pass judgment on particular cases. (The Watchtower April 1, 1969 pp. 223-224).


But the Bible does not provide a basis to expect a resurrection of the embryo. (The Watchtower March 15, 1984 p. 30).


Perhaps will be resurrected


Is a resurrection possible if a developing child dies before it is born? Life begins at conception. Jehovah can resurrect individuals of whatever stage of life because “all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) But the Bible does not directly say whether he will resurrect unborn children who died in the womb. (The Watchtower August 15, 2009 p. 23).


Destiny of killed mentioned in Revelation 19:21


They will come to “submission to the truth”


[Rev.] 19:21. And the remnant. — The people who are left after their systems are destroyed.

Were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse. — Will, in due time, come into loving and cheerful submission to the truth. — Rev. 19:15; 2 Cor. 10:4.

Which sword proceeded out of His mouth. — All should be able to see that it is not a literal sword that is here referred to. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 298).


They will be killed and resurrected


“And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth; and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” (Vs. 21) These have opposed the Lord and his work and supported Satan and are guilty of death, but not necessarily the second death. They have said, “There is no death,” but now they must taste it for themselves. The organization of Satan will never arise, but these individuals may have the privilege of hearing the truth under favorable conditions and, obeying it, may live. (Light 1930, Vol. 2, p. 182).


They will be killed and not resurrected


All others who were not directly part of government but who were nevertheless an irreformable part of this corrupt world of mankind are likewise “killed off with the long sword of the one seated on the horse.” Jesus will pronounce them deserving of death. Since in their case the lake of fire is not mentioned, are we to expect that they will have a resurrection? Nowhere are we told that those executed by Jehovah’s Judge at that time are to be resurrected. (Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, 2006 p. 286).

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