The Higher Powers/A Letter

From En JW United
Jump to navigation Jump to search


JUNE 1, 1929

this statement are the words of the apostle, recorded in Hebrews 2:14, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise partook of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Here is a plain statement that the Devil is to be destroyed. How easy it is to understand the matter when we see that fire means destruction, and that nowhere in the Bible does it mean consciousness or torment. Another text that has been misunderstood, and that has caused innumerable heartaches, is found in Malachi 4:1. It reads: "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven: and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." In this text the proud and all the wicked are likened to stubble in a fire, and everybody knows that stubble could not be tormented in a fire, but would be quickly consumed. The text goes on to say that nothing would be left of the wicked, neither root nor branch. Surely it would take a very strong imagination to make such language mean eternal torment. Now let us notice the third verse of this chapter. It reads, "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall he ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts." This text is another favorite proof text for the advocates of the eternal torment theory. But it says plainly that the wicked are to become ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous. God told Adam that he was dust, and when he sinned God told him that he would return to the dust again. Just so, when the wicked are destroyed in the second death, they will have returned to the dust from which they were taken, and will become as ashes under the feet of the righteous. Only a theologian could read eternal torment into this text. Now let us note still other texts which use the words "fire" and "worms", and show clearly that the thought behind them is destruction. Speaking of the time when the Lord's kingdom is established and all flesh shall come and worship before him, the Prophet Isaiah said: "They shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched."(Isa. 66:24)

Note carefully that the text says that they will look upon the carcasses of men. The fact that carcasses are mentioned is proof positive that they are not alive, and nothing that had life was ever cast into the valley of the son of Hinnom. Job tells us that he expected to die, and that his body would be destroyed with worms, and that he expected to come back on the earth again and behold the glory of the Lord in a perfected earth. I quote: "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." -Job 19:26. Again, in Job 21:23-26 we read: "One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at case and quiet.... And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them." Again, in Job 24:19,20 we read: "Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.... The worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered." Thus we can see clearly that the fire that is not quenched and the worm that dieth not are simply illustrations used by the inspired writers to picture to the mind the punishment of the wicked, which God has repeatedly told us is everlasting destruction, and not eternal torment. When picturing the death or destruction from which there will be a resurrection, the Old Testament writers use the Hebrew word sheol, and the New Testament writers use the Greek word hades, both of which are correctly translated by the words "hell" and "grave". But when picturing the "second death", which is called "everlasting destruction", the Old and the New Testament writers invariably use the symbolic words "fire", "worms," and "gehenna", and the symbolic phrases "lake of fire" and "lake of fire and brimstone". Thus the Bible pictures to our minds, in symbolic phrase, the complete and everlasting destruction of wicked men, wicked angels, and every wicked and corrupt system of evil now existing all the earth.

After the destruction of every evil person and thing, there will be a clean universe and no more death, no more destruction, and hence no more need for "fire", "worms," or "brimstone". In Revelation 20:10 we are told that eventually the Devil himself is to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, which means his eternal destruction also.


Heartiest greetings to Sir Rutherford. I have read the booklet Oppression, When Will It End? I bought the booklet from a Bible Student, of Wheeling. I want to tell you that I never heard or read such truths as that booklet contains. It went deep into my heart and I am

expressing my best appreciation to you for it. It reminds me of a story about an old man who had been searching for the truth all his life, with a lighted candle, but in vain. Therefore I thank God for the truth which I have found while I am still young.

Yours truly. MELVIN GLAKY, W. Va.