some 75,000 enemies of the Jews, which enemies either shared his malice for the Jews or sought to profit by their destruction. His own ten sons were hanged on the gallows and his estate was turned over to Esther and, by her, to Mordecai. It was not God’s will that his typical name-people, the Jews, should be wiped out, and therefore he maneuvered the destruction of their would-be destroyers. The record leaves no doubt about this, even though it directly omits all references to God.
Haman’s end constitutes a forceful warning to all proud enemies of God’s people of the fate that awaits them if they persist in their wicked course. In modern times one Hitler may be pointed out as a proud prince who sought the destruction of all of Jehovah’s people because they refused to “Heil” him and who himself suffered destruction. However, it would be a mistake to consider this prophetic drama as applying especially to him. Rather, the complete fulfillment of this drama seems still to be in the future, having the following prophetic significance:
The fact that Xerxes (Ahasuerus) at times was influenced to the harm of and then again for the good of God’s people would indicate that he represented regal power in the abstract; picturing either the “Higher Powers”, Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, or the “god of this world” Satan the Devil, depending upon how he was being influenced.—Rom. 13:1-4; 2 Cor. 4:4.
Vashti, the self-willed queen who was deposed, finds a parallel in those who were prospective members of the bride of Christ and who because of an improper course were rejected.—Matt. 13:41.
Mordecai and Esther well picture God’s anointed servants at the present time: Mordecai representing them particularly as the “faithful and wise servant” and Esther picturing them as the members of the bride of Christ. (Matt. 24:45-47; 2 Cor. 11:2) The Jews throughout the provinces would likewise picture these but from the standpoint of being spiritual Israelites scattered throughout the world. Those who became Jews would picture men of good-will who become praisers of Jehovah and associate themselves with the spiritual Jews.
Haman foreshadowed the proud, self-exalted religious clergy, who bear malice toward Jehovah’s true servants and who would destroy them by accusing them of sedition, inciting mobs against them, etc. From the prophetic drama of Esther it appears that while efforts will be made to destroy Jehovah’s people, their God will preserve them and permit them to see the humiliation and destruction of their enemies.
“ON TORMENT FOREVER AND EVER”
October 8, 1949
Answering yours of September 25:
Frankly we are surprised that, in your effort to support eternal hell-fire and torment for HUMAN souls, you turn to a book of symbols or sign language, and not to some plain, literal passage of Scripture. Have you never noticed that the introduction to the book of Revelation reads: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to point out unto his servants the things which must needs come to pass with speed, and he shewed them BY SIGNS, sending through his messenger unto his servant John.” (Revelation 1:1, 2, Rotherham’s translation) So God through Christ “signified” or disclosed by signs and symbols his message to John. Hence Revelation 20:10 teaches a truth by signs or symbols, and one of those signs or symbols is the “lake of fire and brimstone”. Have you never noticed what the “lake” symbolizes? Revelation 20:14 tells you plainly: “And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the SECOND DEATH, even the lake of fire.” (American Standard Version) And that the lake represents eternal death or annihilation and not a living state is shown by the next verse, which says: “And if any was not found written in the book of LIFE, he was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15, A.S.V.) For not being found worthy of living, he was thrown into the fiery lake, that is, the everlasting death state, which is a death different from that which Adam brought upon our race.
Just as the “lake” is a symbol at Revelation 20:10, so the “beast” is a symbol and not a literalism. You do not believe it to mean a literal beast, now do you? Just as the Devil is not a literal dragon; and even the “false prophet” is not a literal man, but proves to be an organization. On Revelation 20:10, our book published in 1930 entitled “Light” says in Volume 2, page 219, paragraph 2: “As stated in Revelation 14:10 and the comments thereunder, all imprisonment is torment as long as it lasts; and since ‘the beast and the false prophet’ and Satan shall never be released from the imprisonment of destruction, that condition is symbolically described as ‘torment day and night for ever and ever’. In ancient times when persons were in jail, and therefore in torment, under certain conditions they might be released. . . . There is nothing that could ever release Satan or ‘the beast and the false prophet.’ This ‘lake of fire and brimstone’ denotes destruction from which there is no recovery.” The aforementioned book Light in two volumes discusses all of the Revelation, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Matthew 18:34 speaks of jailers as “tormentors”.—Am. Stan. Ver.
Revelation 14:9, 10 says: “If any man worshippeth the beast and his image, and receiveth a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” (Am. Stan. Ver.) Now, Mr. ——, you do not believe, do you, that in these verses the beast, his image, the mark on forehead and mark on hand and the wine and the cup and the Lamb are literal things? If you make the fire and brimstone literal, then you must make those other things literal. If you say those other things are not literal, then why do you insist that the fire and brimstone are also literal? Revelation 20:14, 15 shows the fire and brimstone are not literal, but symbolical. Hence for the worshiper of the beast and his image to be punished with fire and brimstone