The basic problem is that most of the 8 billion+ people that will be eternally annihilated, according to the Governing Body, have not had the opportunity to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. In view of the fact that God loves the world of mankind (John 3:16), and that he wants that all humans shall get everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9), the view of the present members of the Governing Body that so many humans shall be eternally annihilated is a false teaching. A long quotation from The Watchtower of June 1, 1952, pages 347-348 shows the viewpoints:
WHY WE WITNESS NOW’
19 If ignorance during this present judgment period is an excuse and is going to mean a resurrection for ignorant ones in the millennial reign, would it not be advantageous to let all remain ignorant now? If all those not personally preached to now and who are slain by Jehovah at Armageddon are going to return in the resurrection of mankind, why preach now at all? Even those who oppose the view that all Armageddon’s slain are forever dead will admit that those hearing but not accepting the witness now will perish eternally at Armageddon. Just for the sake of reasoning together, adopt their view for a moment. We preach to one thousand persons now, and perhaps one accepts the truth, while all the others reject it and die forever at Armageddon. But if we refrained from preaching to this one thousand, all would die at Armageddon but all would return in a resurrection, not having heard the message. Surely when they returned in that new world far advanced toward perfect paradise, with no corrupting humans around and demonic influence gone, so our opposers would incline to think and say, many more than one of that thousand would conform to new world requirements. Maybe only one would refuse. So why preach now and save one out of a thousand? Why not be silent now and save 999 out of a thousand?
20 That, of course, would be folly. It would mean eternal destruction for the witness who remained silent. It means the stones would cry out the warning, if the watchman class failed to do so. (Ezek. 33:7-9; Luke 19:40) The gospel-preaching is going to be done earth-wide, for Jehovah says so. And whether it is done on the basis of personal or family or community responsibility, the peoples of all nations are going to be separated into “sheep” and “goat” classes, for Jehovah says so. Those whom he slays at Armageddon will remain forever dead, for his prophetic pictures made at the time of the Flood and at the time of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction say so, along with the parable of the sheep and goats. This view is corroborated by John 5:28, 29 (NW): “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”
21 Note that John 5:28, 29 limits resurrections to those “in the memorial tombs”. This means that only those whose existence Jehovah retains in his memory will be resurrected, which remembrance is indicated or symbolized by the expression “memorial tombs”. That is why criminals considered unworthy of a resurrection were unceremoniously tossed into the Valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, where their bodies were consumed, unlamented, unburied, without any tomb to remind of or memorialize their former existence. So those not “in the memorial tombs”, or not thus symbolized as being in God’s memory, will not be remembered at resurrection time. What this means to us today is that those now living in this time of judgment and who fail for one reason or another to take a stand for Jehovah, and are therefore slain by him at the battle of Armageddon, will not be retained in his memory for a resurrection. That this group will include the majority of humans now living on earth is shown by Jeremiah 25:33: “The slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” These vast numbers slain by Jehovah and likened to dung strewn over the earth could hardly be considered as being “in the memorial tombs” for Christ to remember and call forth during the Millennium. He does not remember dung.
In the 1940s and 1950s, The Watchtower had a great number of excellent articles, that helped the readers to do deep bible study. But the article with the quotation above is one of the few very bad articles.
The conclusions of this article regarding the application of the ransom sacrifice and the resurrection are the very opposite of the conclusions of C.T. Russell and the Bible Students and of the articles written by J.F. Rutherford. These conclusions represent a devaluation and restriction of the ransom sacrifice and of the resurrection.
In chapter 2 of my book The Atonement Between God And Man, I show that in the year 1965, 12 articles about the resurrection were published in The Watchtower. These articles showed the real value of the ransom sacrifice, and they showed correctly that most of all Adam’s descendants will get a resurrection during the millennium. The members of the Governing Body today have reversed the true biblical viewpoints that were presented in 1965. And they have about the same view as the view present in the quotation above from The Watchtower of 1952.
However, there is one false viewpoint that was expressed in 1952, that was not corrected in 1965, and that is still standing. This is the view that all the 8 billion+ people that will die in the great tribulation will be eternally annihilated.
The author of the quotation above asks what is the purpose of the worldwide preaching of the Kingdom, if people who are ignorant regarding the Kingdom of God will get a resurrection during the millennium. The answer to this question is very simple:
|The assignment of the Christians in the first century was to preach the good news of the Kingdom and gather a part of the 144,000 that will reign with Jesus in heaven. The assignment of the Christians in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries has been to gather the rest of the 144,000 and the great crowd that will survive the great tribulation, and not to separate the inhabitants of the nations into two groups.|
I show in my book. The Atonement Between God And Man that most of the people who have lived and died since Adam, including those who will die in connection with the great tribulation, will get a resurrection on Judgment Day, which is the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ. At that time, they will get the chance to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice. Only the few persons who have sinned against the holy spirit will not get a resurrection.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE FALSE TEACHING OF THE DEVALUATION AND RESTRICTION OF THE RANSOM SACRIFICE
In the days of C.T. Russell, the Bible Students studied the Bible to find the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. The most important discovery that they made was that when Jesus died, he bought all the descendants of Adam, and during the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ, all the descendants of Adam will get a resurrection with the possibility of living forever. This means that every descendant of Adam must get a personal chance to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice.
J.F. Rutherford wrote many articles and gave many talks about the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, and he made a small modification to the view of the Bible students. They believed that every human, including Adam, would get a resurrection. But Rutherford pointed out that a few persons had sinned against the holy spirit and would not get a resurrection. The view of Rutherford regarding the ransom sacrifice and the resurrection is the true biblical view.
The biblical text that became the focus in the late 1930s was the illustration of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. This illustration speaks about two different groups, the sheep and the goats. The sheep were identified as the great crowd (the great multitude). But the identification of the goats changed. The Watchtower of October 15, 1938, page 314:
Although having been warned, they [the goats] continue to oppose the kingdom and to persecute the witnesses of the Lord who proclaim the King and his kingdom. They refuse to enter the kingdom themselves, and they hinder others from entering. By their willful conduct they demonstrate that they would oppose the kingdom during the thousand-year reign of Christ. Why should they be given a second chance to show their opposition to God and to his kingdom? They have taken a positive stand against the Lord and against his kingdom now, and have entered into a conspiracy to prevent the faithful witnesses from continuing to serve God and to be a part of his kingdom. As they have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate their wickedness, the judgment of the Lord finally entered against them is this: “These shall go away into everlasting cutting off.” (Matt. 25:46, Diag., interlinear) There appears to be no reason why they should be brought back.
We note that the goats are said to be those who actively persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses and oppose the Kingdom of God and not all humans who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, eight months after this article, the identification of the goats changed. We read in The Watchtower of June 15, 1939, page 181
8 The foregoing text of Acts 15: 14-18 shows that the only ones that are going to be saved before and at Armageddon are those who constitute the kingdom class and the great multitude.
The new view was that the goats were all people who did not belong to Jehovah’s Witnesses. This view continued to be held, and The Watchtower of May 1, 1951, pages 287, 288, answered a question about the sheep and the goats.
Some maintain that at Armageddon there will be three classes: sheep that survive, goats that are eternally destroyed, and uninformed or unresponsible ones who will die but will be resurrected, and that in this latter class will be young children. Is this correct?-L. P., Montana.
We know of no Scriptural backing for such a view. The parable of the sheep and goats shows the nations being separated into two classes, not three. The goats headed for everlasting cutting-off are not just those who persecuted Christ’s brothers. The parable upbraids the goats, not for what they did, but for what they failed to do, for their indifference toward and lack of interest in his brothers.—Matt. 25:45.
Many who never come in touch with the anointed remnant nevertheless subscribe to what others do in persecuting or fail to do in the way of giving help. The Bible shows a communal responsibility, where a community upholds rulers who persecute Jehovah’s people.
The new view was that the nations of the world are separated into two groups, sheep and goats. And the goats are all the inhabitants of the nations of the world who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. This view is still held, and it is the basic reason why the Governing Body has devalued and restricted the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the resurrection.
We note that the quotation says that many people have not had the chance to know the truth about God. But they will be everlastingly annihilated because of “communal responsibility” (“community responsibility”). This view is that individual humans are responsible for what others around them do. And therefore, they will be eternally annihilated. This is a view that contradicts the value of the ransom sacrifice, that Jesus bought all descendants of Adam. And this view has no basis in the Bible.
There was another question in The Watchtower of May 1, 1951, pages 286, 287:
Can we Scripturally say that those slain by Jehovah at the climax of such judgment periods as at the Flood and at Sodom and Gomorrah and at Armageddon go into eternal destruction?—I. F., Washington.
Please open your Bible and read Luke 17:24-37. It speaks of “that day when the Son of man is to be revealed” (NW), and the surrounding verses show that to be in the time of the end, climaxed by Armageddon. It states that at Armageddon it will be “just as it occurred in the days of Noah” when “the flood arrived and destroyed them all”, and it will be “just as it occurred in the days of Lot” when he fled Sodom and “it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all”. Since these are parallel cases, if it can be shown that the destroyed in any one case will have no “resurrection of judgment” it follows that those in the other two cases are likewise doomed. (John 5:28, 29, NW) The parable of the sheep and goats, now in course of fulfillment, shows that at Armageddon the goats “depart into everlasting cutting-off”, thereby indicating the fate of those destroyed in all three cases.—Matt. 25:31-46, NW.
These comments show that those who died in the flood, in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra, and those who will die in the great tribulation will be eternally annihilated. This view has been valid for 72 years. But at the annual meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2023, David Splane gave a talk where he said that some of those who died in the flood and in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra may get a resurrection. But the view that 8 billion+ people will be eternally annihilated in the great tribulation is still standing.
. See my article, «Manslaughter» in the category, “The eleven disfellowshipping offenses.”
THE TRUE TEACHING OF THE APPLICATION OF THE RANSOM SACRIFICE
What the Holy Scriptures say about the ransom sacrifice is quite simple. And brother Russell and the Bible Students were able to grasp this after a short time of Bible study. So, it is difficult to understand why the present members of the Governing Body do not accept what the Christian Greek Scriptures say about the ransom sacrifice.
JESUS DIED FOR ALL ADAM’S DESCENDANTS
I quote three texts showing the scope of that ransom sacrifice, 1 Timothy 2:5, 6; (above), 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 (middle), and Hebrews 2:9 (below):
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all (hyper pantōn) — [this is] what is to be witnessed to at its own particular times.
14 For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have judged, that one man died for all (hyper pantōn); so, then, all had died; 15 and he died for all that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.
9 but we behold Jesus, who has been made a little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, that he by God’s undeserved kindness might taste death for every [man] (hyper pantos).
In all three instances, the preposition hyper is used. As all prepositions, it may have different meanings. Five of the meanings given by Mounce are: “above, over; met. in behalf of; instead of beneficially; in maintenance of; for the furtherance of.” NWT84 uses the rendering “for” in all three instances. This is a good rendering, and it may include the idea of “in behalf of” or “instead of beneficially.” In 1. Timothy and 2 Corinthians, the pronoun pas is genitive plural, and the rendering “all” is a good rendering. In Hebrews the pronoun pas is singular, and both the rendering “every [man]” (NWT84) and “everyone” (NWT13) are good renderings.
The plural form refers to all humans as a group, and the singular form refers to each individual of this group. I am really sad to see that the members of the present Governing Body do not believe that Jesus died for all Adam’s descendants; he died for all those who will be saved, is the view. They have even manipulated the text of 1 Timothy 2:4, 6 in NWT13 in order to show that Jesus did not die for “all humans” but only for “all kinds of humans.” The reason why the members of the Governing Body do not believe that Jesus died for all Adam’s descendants is of course the belief that 8 billion+ humans will be eternally annihilated. So, Jesus could not have died for these people. This is a false teaching.
JEHOVAH WANTS THAT ALL ADAM’S DESCENDANTS SHALL BE SAVED
The worldwide preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses accords with the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:14. But it is quite ironic that the members of the Governing Body do not understand the very purpose of this preaching.
In the first century CE the purpose of the preaching was to gather a part of the 144,000 humans who will reign with Jesus Christ in the heavens and function as priests and judges. The purpose of the preaching in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries was to gather the rest of 144,000, and to gather a group of humans who would constitute a great crowd who will survive the great tribulation, and whom Jehovah will use to make the new system of things ready for the resurrection.
On the day of Atonement, the high priest first made sacrifices for himself and his family, which where a picture of how the ransom sacrifice first will be applied to those who will be heavenly kings, priests, and judges. Then he offered sacrifices for the nation of Israel, which pictured how the ransom sacrifice will be applied to mankind in general. With this in mind we can read Matthew 10:23:
23 When they persecute YOU in one city, flee to another; for truly I say to YOU, YOU will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives.
Jesus sent out his disciples to preach, and he gave them different instructions. If “Israel” represent humanity in general, as in the prophetic type on the day of Atonement, this shows that the preaching will not reach all the humans on the earth before Jesus comes in the great tribulation. This accords with Matthew 24:14, which shows there will be preached for all the nations but not for all the inhabitants of the nations. The statistics that I will show below, indicates that more than 75% of the 8 billion+ who live when the great tribulation comes will not have had any opportunity to learn the truth about Jehovah. The view of the members of the Governing Body is that all these people will be eternally annihilated. But this would contradict the value of the ransom sacrifice and be against Jehovah’s love and righteousness. So, what will happen to these 6 billion+ human beings?
The words in 2 Peter 3:9 may help us understand this:
9 Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with YOU because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all (pas) to attain to repentance.
The contrast in the verse is between “any to be destroyed” and “all to attain to repentance.” Because of this contrast, it is not possible to translate pas with “all kinds of.” God wants that all Adam’s descendants shall attain to repentance, and this implies that he will give all humans the chance to attain to repentance, something which the 75% of the humans who live when the great tribulation starts, have not had.
IS THE MEANING “ALL” OR “ALL SORTS OF”?
The original New World Translation, that was slightly revised in 1984, is in my view the most accurate English translation. But in a few instances, such as in connection with the ransom sacrifice, its renderings are strange. I compare the New International Version (above) with the New World Translation of 1984 (below):
- Timothy 2:3, 4:
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
3 This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, 4 whose will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.
1 Timothy 4:10:
10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
10 For to this end we are working hard and exerting ourselves, because we have rested our hope on a living God, who is a Savior of all sorts of men, especially of faithful ones.
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
11 For the undeserved kindness of God which brings salvation to all sorts of men has been manifested.
I do not understand why New World Translation has the renderings “all sorts of men” instead of “all men.” As the text stands, the NWT shows that the salvation of Jesus is not for all Adam’s descendants. However, 1 Timothy 2:6 shows that Jesus bought all humans, and 2 Peter 3:9, that is quoted above, shows that God desires all to attain to repentance. When 1 Timothy 2:4 (NWT) says that God’s “will is that all sorts of men should be saved,” this is a contradiction of what Peter says. It is obvious that God wants that all men should be saved. Moreover, Titus 4:10 says that God is not only the savior of those who believe. But he is the savior of all men.
Corroborating the points above are the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:19:
19 that God was by means of Christ reconciling (katallassō) a world (kosmos) to himself, not counting their offenses against them.
God did not reconcile “all sorts of men” to himself by means of Christ, he reconciled the world (all living humans) to himself. Thus, Jehovah is not the savior of all sorts of men but the savior of all men. The Watchtower of November 15, 1972, pages 697, 698 explicitly shows that God is the savior of all men:
The apostle Paul speaks of Jesus as “having suffered death, that he by God’s undeserved kindness might taste death for every man.” Paul also speaks of “a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.” (Heb. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6) Thus Jesus Christ, by presenting to God the life value of his human sacrifice, ransomed all mankind, purchased them, even without their requesting him to do so. On this account, there will be, under his heavenly kingdom, a “resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24: 15) Jesus Christ owns them all.
The view that Jesus was the savior of all men continued to be held throughout the 20th century. But in the 21st century, the view of the members of the Governing Body has been that Jesus died for many but not for all Adam’s descendants. This is expressed on the on-line article, “How is Jesus ‘a ransom for Many?” We read:
. For a detailed discussion, see chapter 4 entitled, “The vast majority of Adam’s descendants will get a resurrection” in the book, The Atonement Between God And Man.
. A detailed discussion of the reconciliation of all men to God is found in my book The Atonement Between God And Men, pages 44-49.
THE SINS THAT CAN BE FORGIVEN AND THOSE THAT CAN NOT BE FORGIVEN
According to Genesis 3:1, the penalty for sin is death, which means the loss of life without any hope of regaining the life. The basic issue we are discussing is the destiny of the 8 billion+ who live when the great tribulation starts and the destiny of the other humans who have lived and died without being servants of God. Because Jesus is the savior of all men, the real issue is which persons can have their sins forgiven on the basis of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. The answer to this question will throw light on the destiny of the 8 billion+ who live when the great tribulation comes and others who have died. We read in Matthew 12:31, 32:
31 “On this account I say to YOU, Every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. 32 For example, whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it will not be forgiven him, no, not in this system of things nor in that to come.
The quoted words of Jesus that “every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven” are alone proof that most of the people who have died, as well as the people who die in the great tribulation, will get a resurrection during the millennium. This is so because the nature of the sin against the holy spirit suggests that only a few persons have committed this sin. I will elucidate that.
THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
Only God can read the hearts of humans, so, only he knows who is guilty of sin against the holy spirit. However, on the basis of The Christian Greek Scriptures, we can know something about the nature of this sin.
|Sin against the holy spirit are violations of God’s laws that are not caused by the sin a person has inherited from Adam. But these violations are caused by the wickedness of the person. Every sort of sin that is caused by inheritance will be forgiven.|
This definition is rather general, so we need to see some examples in order to understand the meaning better. I start with the words in Mark 3:29, 30, which shows why Jesus expressed his words about sin against the holy spirit:
29 However, whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit has no forgiveness forever, but is guilty of everlasting sin.” 30 This, because they were saying: “He has an unclean spirit.”
According to Matthew 12:27, the sons (disciples) of the Pharisees could expel demons. In this case, the demons cooperated with the disciples of the Pharisees, in order to mislead those who saw the demons being expelled. When this expelling of demons occurred, the Pharisees evidently used this as evidence that God was on their side. Jesus expelled demons on a much greater scale than the disciples of the Pharisees. But in his case, a group of Pharisees. according to verse 24, said that Jesus expelled the demons with the help of Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.
Were these Pharisees led by their imperfection, by their inherited sin to ascribe the great works of Jesus to Satan? Did they say this because they had inherited sin from their first father? No! They accused Jesus of being in league with Satan because they were wicked, and Jesus threatened their position. This was a conscious decision that could not be ascribed to their inherited sin. Sin against the holy spirit, therefore, is an intentional wicked course of action that continues despite the fact that the actor knows that his or her course is wicked, and it is done because of pure selfishness. When sin against the holy spirit is done, the person is no longer able to repent.
Christians may also sin against the holy spirit if they consciously reject the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. I quote from Hebrews 6:4-8:
4 For as regards those who were once enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly free gift and who have become partakers of holy spirit 5 and who have tasted the fine word of God and powers of the coming system of things, 6 but have fallen away (parapiptō), it is impossible to revive them again to repentance (metanoia), because they nail the Son of God to the stake again for themselves and expose him to public shame. 7 For the ground receives a blessing from God when it drinks in the rain that frequently falls on it and then produces vegetation useful to those for whom it is cultivated. 8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is rejected and is near to being cursed, and in the end it will be burned.
The text says that “it is impossible to revive them again to repentance” those who consciously have rejected the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. Those who follow the same course as the group of Pharisees and those who “have fallen away” will not get a resurrection.
|The Awake! magazine of May 22, 1963, page 28, contained an article with the theme, “Resurrection — for whom?” Regarding those who will not get a resurrection the article says:
There will not be a resurrection for the willfully, deliberately, incorrigibly wicked, those without the slightest spark remaining of conscience or love of righteousness.
This is an excellent definition of sin against the holy spirit.
. A detailed analysis of the illustration of the sheep and the goats is found in my book, The Atonement Between God And Man, pages 139-142.
THE 8 BILLION+ WHO WILL BE ETERNALLY ANNIHILATED IN THE GREAT TRIBULATION ACCORDING TO THE GOVERNING BODY
The basic reason why the members of the Governing Body say that all those who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses when the great tribulation comes will be eternally annihilated, is their interpretation of the illustration of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. This interpretation is wrong because it contradicts Greek grammar.
THE ILLUSTRATION OF THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS
All the nations will be gathered before Jesus Christ. But the Greek grammar demands that those who are separated as goats are not the inhabitants of all the nations, but some unidentified persons among these inhabitants. We read in Matthew 25:32:
And all the nations (panta ta ethne) will be gathered before him. And he will separate them (autous) from each other, just as the shepherd is separating the sheep from the goats.
In connection with a pronoun that refers to a substantive, the rule of Greek grammar is the same as the rule of English grammar: A pronoun referring back to a substantive must be of the same gender and number as the substantive. The pronoun “them” is masculine plural, and “the nations” are neuter plural. Therefore, “them” cannot refer back to “the nations.” But those who are classified as goats are some unidentified persons among the nations. A parallel example is found in Matthew 28:19 NWT13:
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations (panta ta ethne), baptizing them (autous) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.
In this text, “all the nations” are neuter plural, and the following personal pronoun “them” is masculine plural. Therefore, “them” cannot refer back to “all the nations.” In order to show this contrast, which means that not all the inhabitants of the nations shall not be baptized, NWT13 has added the words “people of.” So, these who shall be baptized are not all the inhabitants of the nations but some unidentified persons among the nations.
The members of the Governing Body have no excuse for having done this grave grammatical error because The Watchtower of May 15, 1949, pages 150 and 156, had the same analysis as I have used. With reference to the illustration of the sheep and the goats, the article says:
There the word nations is in the neuter gender, but the pronoun them (referring to those who are separated) is in the masculine gender and hence does not refer to nations…
In the parable the “goats” are all those people on earth at this time who have been reached directly or indirectly by the issue over Christ’s brothers and who take a willful stand on the issue, and that against the King. Only such persons the King could address as he does, saying they had an opportunity to do good to his brothers whose condition they saw and yet they refused to do so, thus sinning.
The author of this article evidently knew Greek, and he correctly shows that it is not all the nations of the world that will be separated into sheep and goats, but some unidentified persons from these nations.
THE GOATS THAT HAVE NOT DONE GOOD TO CHRIST’S BROTHERS
I take the identification of the goats in the quotation above as a point of departure. Only persons who have been reached directly or indirectly by the issue of Christ’s brothers but who refused to do good the these brothers can be classified as goats. The members of the Governing Body say that at the end of the great tribulation, all people are separated into two groups, the sheep who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the goats who are all other people.
Let us look at the facts on the ground. According to the 2022 “Service Year Report of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” 8,699,048 publishers were preaching the good news of the Kingdom in 239 lands. And they spent 1,501,797,703 hours in this preaching. This seems very impressive. However, what has this preaching achieved in connection with giving each living person a chance to hear the good news of the Kingdom and to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
Today, there are 8 billion inhabitants on the earth. Of these, there are 2 billion children below 14 years and 800 million persons with mental health disorders. These constitute 35% of the world population, and most of them neither have had the chance nor the capacity to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice.
When we look at the report of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we see that there are relatively few preachers in India with 1.4 billion inhabitants, and in China also with 1.4 billion inhabitants. In Asia, there are 4.6 billion inhabitants, most of whom have not heard the good news of the kingdom. If we, to this number, add the 1 billion children and 400 million persons with mental health disorders from other parts of the earth, we get the number of 6,0 billion. This is 75% of the world’s population, and most of them have not had the chance to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice or to be acquainted with the brothers of Jesus.
In Europe, Australia, and America, there has been much preaching of the Kingdom. How will the situation develop toward the great tribulation? The world population increases by 140 million persons each year, and Jehovah’s Witnesses increase with about 300,000 persons. This means that the ratio between the Witnesses and the world population increases each year. Therefore, the number of those who today have not had the chance to be acquainted with the brothers of Jesus increases each year until the great tribulation comes because the ratio between the preachers of the Kingdom and the world population will all the time increase. Thus, more than 75% of the humans who live on the earth when the great tribulation comes will be ignorant regarding the ransom sacrifice and the way to get everlasting life, and they will not know anything about the brothers of Jesus.
|Even those who personally have heard the message of the Kingdom have not necessarily got a full chance to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice. The inhabitants of Chorazin, Kapernaum, and Bethsaida heard the message of Jesus and saw his miracles. But they did not believe in him. Yet, they had not gotten a full chance to serve God because Jesus said that they will get a resurrection on Judgment Day.|
None of the 6 billion people, and most of the other 2 billion people as well, can be classified as goats because they have no knowledge of the brothers of Christ. Then, who are the goats? I will eliminate one word in the definition of the goats from the year 1949, namely the word “indirectly.” It is obvious, as the definition from 1949 also imply, that to refuse to do good to the brothers of Christ requires that these persons have identified these brothers. This means that just as the weeds in the illustration of the wheat and the weeds are Christians with a heavenly calling who have sinned against the holy spirit, the goats are persons with an earthly hope who have been connected with God’s people but who refuse to do good to Christ’s brothers and by this sin against the holy spirit.
. In my book The Atonement Between God And Man, pages 147-159, there is a detailed study of the illustration of the sheep and the goats.
“EVERY SORT OF SIN AND BLASPHEMY WILL BE FORGIVEN MEN”
I will now apply these words of Jesus to the descendants of Adam in connection with the resurrection from the dead. I start with the definition of sin against the holy spirt found in Awake! of May 22, 1963, page 28:
There will not be a resurrection for the willfully, deliberately, incorrigibly wicked, those without the slightest spark remaining of conscience or love of righteousness.
If we apply these words to the 8 billion+ who live when the great tribulation comes, how many will fit this definition? We cannot give any number. But I am certain that very few are deliberately, incorrigibly wicked. Because Jesus bought all these people, and most of them have not had the chance to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice, most of them will get a resurrection during the millennium.
If we go to the time of Jesus, I quote Matthew 11:20-24:
20 Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his powerful works had taken place, for they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Cho·raʹzin! Woe to you, Beth·saʹi·da! because if the powerful works that took place in you had taken place in Tyre and Siʹdon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more endurable for Tyre and Siʹdon on Judgment Day than for you. 23 And you, Ca·perʹna·um, will you perhaps be exalted to heaven? Down to the Grave (hades) you will come; because if the powerful works that took place in you had taken place in Sodʹom, it would have remained until this very day. 24 But I say to you, it will be more endurable for the land of Sodʹom on Judgment Day than for you.”
Jesus said that the inhabitants of Chorazin, Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Sodom will get a resurrection on Judgment Day. The members of the Governing Body reject the words of Jesus, and verse 24 refers to the study note on Luke 10:12 where this rejection is seen. The note says, for example, that Jesus did not say that the inhabitants should be present on Judgment Day. But that was exactly what Jesus said!
It will be more endurable: Evidently used as a form of hyperbole that Jesus may not have intended to be taken literally. (Compare other graphic hyperboles that Jesus used, such as those at Mt 5:18; Lu 16:17; 21:33) When Jesus said it would be “more endurable for Sodom in that day,” that is, on Judgment Day (Mt 10:15; 11:22, 24; Lu 10:14), he was not saying that the inhabitants of Sodom must be present on that day.(Compare Jude 7) He could simply have been emphasizing how unresponsive and culpable most people were in such cities as Chorazin. Bethsaida, and Capernaum. (Lu 10:13-15) It is worth noting that what happened to Ancient Sodom had become a proverbial and was often mentioned in connection with God’s anger and judgment.—De 29:23: Isa 1:9; La 4:6.
The inhabitants of the three cities north of the Gennesaret Sea saw the miracles of Jesus and heard his preaching. But they did not believe in Jesus. Were they incorrigibly wicked, those without the slightest spark remaining of conscience or love of righteousness.? According to the words of Jesus, the answer is no. Moreover, “every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven,” according to Jesus. Jesus speaks of “this adulterous and wicked generation” which, according to the context refers to all the inhabitants in Israel in the days of Jesus. All these people will get a resurrection according to Matthew 12:38-42:
38 Then as an answer to him, some of the scribes and the Pharisees said: “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 In reply he said to them: “A wicked and adulterous generation keeps on seeking a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Joʹnah the prophet. 40 For just as Joʹnah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.41 Men of Ninʹe·veh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at what Joʹnah preached. But look! something more than Joʹnah is here. 42 The queen of the south will be raised up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solʹo·mon. But look! Something more than Solʹo·mon is here.
The members of this generation were adulterous and wicked. But most of them evidently were not incorrigibly wicked, those without the slightest spark remaining of conscience or love of righteousness. And “every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven,”
If we go further back in history and we consider the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorra, we read in Genesis 13:13:
13 Now the men of Sodʹom were wicked, gross sinners against Jehovah.
Jesus said that is Matthew 11:23, 24, that is quoted above, that the inhabitants of Sodom will get a resurrection on Judgment Day. This shows that the inhabitants were not incorrigibly wicked, those without the slightest spark remaining of conscience or love of righteousness. And “every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven,”
What about those who died in the great flood in the days of Noah? We read in Genesis 6:5:
5 Consequently, Jehovah saw that man’s wickedness was great on the earth and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.
The text says that the people were wicked. But this could hardly include the babies and the small children. Yet, they were killed with their parents. At the annual meeting 2023, David Splane gave a talk where he said that the view had been that all who died in the great flood and in the destruction of Sodoma and Gomorra were eternally annihilated. He presented the new viewpoint that we cannot know if some of these will get a resurrection. This is not true because we know that these people will get a resurrection on Judgment Day because they were bought by Jesus and they have not had the opportunity to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice. They evidently were not incorrigibly wicked, those without the slightest spark remaining of conscience or love of righteousness. And “every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven,”
Revelation 20:6 says that those who are in hadēs, corresponding to Hebrew sheōl, will get a resurrection. I have looked at all the occurrences of sheōl in the Hebrew Scriptures. And interestingly, all the wicked nations that are mentioned are in sheōl and will get a resurrection. I give the example of Babylon. We read Isaiah 13;11, 19 and 14:9:
11 I will call the inhabited earth to account for its badness (rā‘a), And the wicked (rāsha) for their error (‘awōn). I will put an end to the pride of the presumptuous, And I will humble the haughtiness of tyrants…1
19 And Babylon, the most glorious of kingdoms, The beauty and the pride of the Chal·deʹans, Will be like Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah when God overthrew them…
9 Even the Grave (sheōl) underneath is stirred up To meet you when you come.
The Babylonians were wicked. But evidently were not incorrigibly wicked, those without the slightest spark remaining of conscience or love of righteousness. And “every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven,”
What we have seen in this section is that C.T. Russell was very close to the correct view of the ransom sacrifice and the resurrection, and J.F. Rutherford held the correct view. The view of the present members of the Governing Body is very far from the biblical view. They have devalued and restricted both the ransom sacrifice and the resurrection, and they simply do not believe what the Bible says about these subjects.
In connection with the 8 billion+ people who live when the great tribulation comes, their view is the very opposite of the biblical view. Instead of these being eternally annihilated, most of them vill get a resurrection during the millennium. And the same is true with the descendants of Adam that have lived and died on the earth. Most of these will get a resurrection during the millennium.
And as I wrote in my introduction, the basic reason why the members of the Governing Body are so far away from the truth in connection with the ransom sacrifice and the resurrection, is their wrong interpretation of the illustration of the sheep and the goats.
|The most important words that support the view that most people who have lived will get a resurrection, are the words of Jesus that “every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven” except sin against the holy spirit.|
. A discussion of all the wicked people who came to sheōl and will get a resurrection is found in my book, The Atonement Between God And Man, pages 113-123.
When one believes that 8 billion+ people will be eternally annihilated in the great tribulation, it is impossible to believe that most of Adam’s descendants who have lived and died will get a resurrection. So, the wrong view that all people who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses will be eternally annihilated in the great tribulation, that already was held in the year 1939, has been the basic reason why the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses have devalued and restricted the ransom sacrifice and have taught that much fewer people will get a resurrection than what C.T. Russell and J.F. Rutherford believed.
The true view that is based on the Bible is that when Jesus Christ died, he bought all Adam’s descendants, and each one will get a chance to accept or reject the ransom sacrifice. This means that all Adam’s descendants except the few that have sinned against the holy spirit will get a resurrection during the thousand-year reign of Jesus because Jesus said that “every sort of sin…will be forgiven,”