Questions From ReadersThe Watchtower—1957 | May 1
Then what about Mark 9:47, 48, quoted in the question? It is obviously symbolical language, not meant to be taken literally. No one who believes in fiery torment plucks his eyes out when his eyes look with lust or covetousness, yet that is what he should do if he takes this text literally and wants to avoid eternal roasting in fire. If the undying worms and the unquenchable fire are literal dangers to be avoided the saving remedy must be literally applied. But no sane believer in eternal torment chops off a hand or a foot or plucks out an eye because those members are involved in his sinning. The language is symbolical, including the part about the worms and fire.
In the original Greek language it is the word gehenna that is translated as “hell.” It comes from the Hebrew expression gei-Hinnom, which designated a valley that lay to the west and south of ancient Jerusalem. Under the later kings of Judah it was used for idolatrous worship, and to prevent this faithful King Josiah had the valley polluted and it came to be the dumping grounds and incinerator for the refuse of Jerusalem. Sulphur, or brimstone, was added to assist in the burning of the filth. Bodies of dead animals were hurled over into this valley for burning and occasionally the bodies of executed criminals were cast in, if they were thought too vile to have a resurrection. If the bodies landed in the fire it destroyed them, but if they lodged on a ledge of the deep ravine without reaching the flames below worms consumed them. Hence this valley of Hinnom with its sulphurous flames and devouring worms where worthless things were thrown was understood by the Jews of Jesus’ day to symbolize death from which there would be no resurrection. It meant annihilation, “second death,” an eternal destruction or punishment. It was from this literal valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, and from its significance, that the symbol of “the lake of fire and brimstone” was drawn. It was understood to mean death without hope of resurrection: “The lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”—Rev. 21:8; 19:20; 20:10, 14, 15.
Hence Mark 9:47, 48, when properly understood, does not conflict with the other scriptures that show that the penalty for sin is death. Rather, it supports the death penalty instead of the eternal torment theory.
AnnouncementsThe Watchtower—1957 | May 1
1957 DISTRICT ASSEMBLIES FOR THE BRITISH ISLES, CANADA, HAWAII AND THE UNITED STATES
It is important that true Christians meet together, this being a God-given assignment. Jehovah’s witnesses are keenly interested in doing this and having their friends join them because of the rich spiritual food that is always provided.
It is now time to arrange for attending one of these assemblies. Which one? The one of your choice. All of the fifteen assemblies (five in the British Isles, three in Canada and seven in the United States) will be for five days and will have identical programs. The assembly in Hawaii is for four days. Spanish programs will be provided at Los Angeles, Houston and Baltimore. One of these assemblies will be reasonably close to your home. Be sure to attend. (Assemblies will be held in many other lands this year too. For information concerning these you may write to the branch office of the Society nearest you.)
You may write now for rooming accommodations, addressing your mail to WATCHTOWER CONVENTION. Send your letter to the rooming address. DO NOT SEND ANY MAIL TO CONVENTION HALLS.
July 3-7, 1957
Houston, Tex., Sam Houston Coliseum, Walker and Bagby Sts. Rooming: 2029 Harold St., Houston 6.
Miami, Fla., Gulfstream Park, East Dixie Hwy. (U.S.#1), Hallandale. Rooming: 1105 NW. 120th St., North Miami.
Toronto, Ont., Coliseum and Grandstand Exhibition Grounds. Rooming: 1005 Gerrard St. East, Toronto 8.
July 10-14, 1957
Denver, Colo., Denver Coliseum, E. 46th Ave. and 44th St. Rooming: 2201 Gaylord St., Denver 5.
Moncton, N.B., Moncton High School Auditorium. Rooming: 296 Highfield St., Moncton.
Seattle, Wash., Sick’s Stadium, Rainier and McClellan. Rooming: 800 Broadway, Seattle 22.
July 17-21, 1957
Milwaukee, Wis., Milwaukee County Stadium, 201 N. 46th St. Rooming: 2404 N. 52nd St., Milwaukee 10.
Southampton, Hants., England, Southampton Football Ground. Rooming: 71 Hill Lane, Southampton.
Southend, Essex, England, Southend United Football Ground. Rooming: 284 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
July 24-28, 1957
Derby, England, Derby County Football Ground. Rooming: 128 Burton Road, Derby.
Edinburgh, Scotland, Murrayfield Ice Rink. Rooming: 95 Broughton St., Edinburgh 1.
Edmonton, Alta., Grandstand, Exhibition Grounds. Rooming: 11112 95 A St., Edmonton.
Los Angeles, Calif., Wrigley Field, 435 E. 42nd Pl. Rooming: 10615 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles 3.
July 26-29, 1957
Hilo, Hawaii, Hilo Civic Auditorium, 323 Manono St. Rooming: 645 Wainaku Ave., Hilo.
July 31-August 4, 1957
Bolton, Lancs., England, Bolton Wanderers Football Ground. Rooming: 42 Great Moor St., Bolton.