from which the smoke rose up forever and ever means for such false worshiper to be cast into the symbolic lake where such symbolic fire and brimstone are. In other words, to be cast into the second death. It is a death forever and ever, because the symbolic fire and brimstone are never put out for those thrown in.
Those thrown into this symbolic lake do not remain alive, but die forever without hope of resurrection. Revelation 19:20 does not say the beast and the false prophet remained alive AFTER being cast “into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone”. In the case of Gehenna, the dump outside of Jerusalem where the city’s refuse was burned, the bodies of DEAD animals were thrown there to be consumed and annihilated, but in the case of the beast and false prophet they are cast into the symbolic lake of fire and brimstone while they are still alive or going concerns. Christ suddenly and abruptly ends their existence.
Yes, we believe you would not torment for an instant a dumb brute beast. So how would God torment creatures made in his image and likeness and torment them so fiendishly forever and ever, when his Son Jesus Christ says: “Are not ye of much more value than they?”—Matthew 6:26, Am. Stan. Ver.
And so, Mr. ——, do not try to refute the literal truths of the Bible with symbolic statements which Christendom’s clergy have twisted out of their meaning. Do not try to make the Bible contradict itself by your so doing. It now remains for you to disprove all the literal statements of the Bible which we have submitted to you in our Bible books that prove that the human soul is not immortal but dies and hence cannot be tormented forever after the dissolution of our human body.
Sincerely yours in the interests of the truth,
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
“LET THE DEAD BURY THE DEAD”
November 21, 1949
Answering yours of the 6th instant:
The funeral profession in Christendom may be, as you say, a “racket”, but they are practically required by law in this land and in many other lands. In Jesus’ day over in the Orient they buried the dead almost immediately. And this is the case of many tropical countries today, where there are not facilities for embalming the dead or the poor people do not have the means for it. But in this land, before ever a dead person can be buried, a doctor’s certificate has to be obtained that the person is dead and there has to be an investigation as to the causes of his death. Also a time is allowed to elapse to make sure that he is really dead. Thus hurried burials to cover over a crime committed upon the dead are forestalled. So in this land we cannot altogether eliminate funerals. But if any Christian does not care to attend, he can suit himself.
Jesus’ words, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead,” do not militate against anyone’s attending a funeral. The man here addressed had said to Jesus: “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” (Matthew 8:21, 22) This does not mean that the man’s father was dead already, for if his father had been dead at the moment the man would have been there at the bier and not listening to Jesus. But the man meant that his father was old and sooner or later would die; and so the man wanted to postpone following Jesus until after he had taken care of his father until death and could receive his father’s dying blessing and then fulfill his father’s wish to have his son at the deathbed close his eyes piously after death ensued. This would have delayed the man’s following Jesus indefinitely and hence Jesus said to let the dead bury their dead. The man’s relatives were evidently not following Jesus on the way to life and hence were dead spiritually and could be left to bury the man’s father when he died. But when consecrated Christians today who are on the way of life and out from under the world’s condemnation have a death in the family and have a funeral, can you rightfully say that here is a case of the “dead” (spiritually) burying the dead? No. The man wanted to go home to bury his father and not to give a witness by a funeral sermon. But consecrated Christians arrange for a witness to the truth at the funeral. This is taking advantage of an opportunity.
Sincerely yours in witnessing to the Kingdom,
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
PREACHING ABOARD SHIP
“On December 11, 1947, we left Denmark on a Danish vessel. We were on our way to the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead located in the state of New York. We hoped to arrange for a public meeting while en route on the ship and found the captain to be very friendly. On December 19 I had the privilege of standing in front of the audience speaking to them on the subject ‘Swords Beaten into Plowshares’. The ship was rocking badly, but in spite of that the audience stayed for the entire meeting, and after the talk we had a study with one of the passengers. More than a year later, in January, 1949, we were on our way back to Denmark on a Swedish ship, and as we had had good results on our way to America in 1947 with the public meetings on shipboard, we desired to once again give a witness to the passengers to the honor of Jehovah’s name. The captain was not sure that the passengers were interested in listening to a Bible talk, but I pressed the opposite view and he finally gave permission for the talk to be given on the ship. This time the subject was ‘From Scarcity to Plenty’. In 1947 we had 23 persons in attendance, and this time we had 17 out of 26 Danish-speaking passengers. After the talk and during the remainder of the trip we had a wonderful opportunity to explain God’s Word to the people. We gained many friends. Now we are back in Denmark, where most likely I will have to go to jail for one and a half years because I have refused to do military service instead of preaching the gospel. Whether in jail or on the bosom of the Atlantic we can still sing the praises of Jehovah, and that I will do ‘more and more’.”