Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Did Russell use an Evil Spirit to Endorse His Studies?

A claim is being made that Brother Russell used a quote from "an evil, spirit power" to endorse his series "Millennial Dawn" in the May 1, 1912 Watchtower. It is reported that the demon said, "Yes; the DAWNS are correct, not only in doctrine, but in chronology as well."

Actually, the material presented was not written by Russell, but it is a letter written by Harry W. Davidge to Russell. The point was not to endorse Russell's works with a quote from a spirit, but rather to show the deceptive methods that these spirits are using, hence is under the title: "ALMOST LED ASTRAY BY SATAN'S DEVICES".

Some quote the letter as proof that the demons "endorsed Russell's theology." This is usually in the context of endeavoring to prove that Russell was an occultist, or that Russell's theology was of the demons. In reality, while the demon appeared to endorse Russell's theology, the demon actually only pretended to do so in order to deceive. Brother Davidge brought this out, when he wrote in that same letter: "It further confessed to me that the spirits who operate the board have no other mission than to hinder all of the Lord's people. It further stated that they took "special delight in buffeting, hindering and endeavoring to ensnare Brother Russell and his colaborers at the Bethel Home." The demon therefore expressed the idea that the DAWNS (Studies in the Scriptures) are correct only gain confidence with the purpose of endeavoring to get Brother Davidge to forsake the truths he was learning.

Indeed, since Russell's theology condemned the use of or communicating with such spirits, the whole idea is self-contradictory.

The apostle Paul had a similar situation, as we read:

Acts 16:16-18 - It happened, as we were going to prayer, that a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling. [17] The same, following after Paul and us, cried out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation!" [18] This she did for many days. But Paul, becoming distressed, turned and said to the spirit, "I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" It came out that very hour. -- World English.

The words spoken by the demon were definitely words of truth. One could conclude that the demon was endorsing the work of Paul and Silas, but was it really? Evidently not, otherwise, Paul would not have commanded the demon to leave the girl. Likewise, the demon that communicate with Brother Davidge was not actually endorsing the Studies in the Scriptures, nor the chronology presented therein.

Brother Russell wrote of this:

St. Paul and Silas had an experience with an obsessed young woman who practiced soothsaying, fortune-telling, by the power of the evil spirit which obsessed her. As the evil spirits recognized Jesus and cried, "We know Thee, who Thou art, Jesus," so this spirit knew the Apostles and, through the young woman's lips, cried after them, "These be the servants of the Most High God, which show to us the way to obtain eternal life" (Acts 16:16-18).
Neither Jesus nor the Apostles were willing to accept demon testimony and commanded the evil spirits to come out of their victims.  -- "Thousands of Demons Infest Earth's Atmosphere." The National Labor Tribune, February 12, 1911, as reprinted in Harvest Gleanings, Volume III, page 467.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Two Pillars

It is often claimed that Russell made use of Masonic symbolism of "two columns" or "two pillars." It is evidently true that some Masons have made use of such symbolism.

We know that the Bible mentions "two pillars" several times. We have not found any evidence that Brother Russell himself ever used any special artwork related to "two pillars". In Biblical times, many edifices had a porch supported by two pillars, and the Bible mentions such related to the House of Jehovah that Solomon built, and possibly also of the palace that was the seat of Jehovah's throne upon which Solomon sat. -- 1 Kings 7:15,20,41; 2 Kings 25:16; 2 Chronicles 3:15; 4:12; Jeremiahs 52:20.

We know some have presented photos of some advertisements related to the showing of "The Photo Drama of Creation" that contains two pillars or columns, although the artwork is not the same as that used in the symbolism of the Masons. These advertisements appear to have been designed after Russell died, but we don't see anything in the use of imagery of two Biblical pillars that would mean that one should imagine that any such Biblical usage is of the Masons. Often, however, although there is nothing actually in the advertisement that identifies anything as being Masonic, some have asserted it to be a fact that the two columns are Masonic. Actually, the idea that the two columns that are used in the Photo-Drama advertisement constitute a Masonic symbol has to be supplied out of the imagination of whoever wishes to see them as "Masonic symbols".

Some claim that one pillar in the above-mentioned advertisement represents Jachin, while the other represents Boaz. If the two pillars in the Photo-Drama advertisement actually were meant to represent Boaz and Jachin of 1 Kings 7:21 and 2 Chronicles 3:17, then this is indeed a Biblical, not a "Masonic" symbolization, not unless one should also believe that the Bible is a "Masonic" book.

John Gill tells us that the name Jachin (1 Kings 7:21) "signifies 'he will establish', i.e. the house to which here was an entrance, so long as the pure worship of God should continue in it." He tells us that Boaz "signifies 'in him', or 'it is strength', namely, in the Lord that dwelt there." Matthew Henry, of course, believed in the trinity, and the alleged "two natures" of Jesus as being that God Almighty and also a man at the same time; thus, he makes such application of these pillars to such. Obviously, the pillars to have symbolic significance for the church, but the Bible itself does not tell us what this is, thus, any conclusions anyone gives should not be considered scriptural doctrine, especially not dogma.

John Gill, however, suggests that Christ's "royal dignity, signified by the crowns of chapiters on them, decorated as they were whose legs are as pillars of marble, in whom are righteousness and strength, which is no small encouragement to those who are entering into the church of God the temple was a type of; who should they fear, being feeble and weak, that they should totter and fall, here stands Jachin, to let them know the Lord will establish and settle them; or that they should never hold out to the end; here is Boaz to direct them to Christ, in whom their strength lies, see (Song of Solomon 4:15) (Isaiah 45:24). Allusion is had to these. (Revelation 3:12).

Matthew Henry tells us of 1 Kings 7:21:

Two brazen pillars, which were set up in the porch of the temple (v. 21), whether under the cover of the porch or in the open air is not certain; it was between the temple and the court of the priests. These pillars were neither to hang gates upon nor to rest any building upon, but purely for ornament and significancy. (1.) What an ornament they were we may gather from the account here given of the curious work that was about them, chequer-work, chain-work, net-work, lily-work, and pomegranates in rows, and all of bright brass, and framed no doubt according to the best rules of proportion, to please the eye. (2.) Their significancy is intimated in the names given them (v. 21): Jachin —he will establish; and Boaz —in him is strength. Some think they were intended for memorials of the pillar of cloud and fire which led Israel through the wilderness: I rather think them designed for memorandums to the priests and others that came to worship at God’s door, [1.] To depend upon God only, and not upon any sufficiency of their own, for strength and establishment in all their religious exercises. When we come to wait upon God, and find our hearts wandering and unfixed, then by faith let us fetch in help from heaven: Jachin —God will fix this roving mind. It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. We find ourselves weak and unable for holy duties, but this is our encouragement: Boaz —in him is our strength, who works in us both to will and to do. I will go in the strength of the Lord God. Spiritual strength and stability are to be had at the door of God’s temple, where we must wait for the gifts of grace in the use of the means of grace. [2.] It was a memorandum to them of the strength and establishment of the temple of God among them. Let them keep close to God and duty, and they should never lose their dignities and privileges, but the grant should be confirmed and perpetuated to them. The gospel church is what God will establish, what he will strengthen, and what the gates of hell can never prevail against. But, with respect to this temple, when it was destroyed particular notice was taken of the destroying of these pillars (2 Ki. 25:13, 2 Ki. 25:17 ), which had been the tokens of its establishment, and would have been so if they had not forsaken God.

Brother Russell would probably not agree with all details of these Christian authors, but if he held any significance to these columns at all, he would more than likely be more inclined to agree with with some of the significance as spoken of these authors, rather than going beyond any scriptural significance, or to Masonic symbolism.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Truth Presented by Satan - Did Russell Condone Using the Occult?

A discussion concerning Russell’s statement concerning “a truth” told by Satan.

John Ankerberg has in many ways misrepresented Charles Taze Russell. We are addressing some of the things stated in the article, "The Pagan Roots of Jehovah's Witnesses."

The article presents Russell as the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses. This is false, and we have discussed this elsewhere. Russell was never a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. See:

The article quotes an inaccurate statement from The Watchtower of July 15, l950, page 212. The author of what is stated there evidently did not do much research, and misrepresented Russell as "hungrily ... investigating the heathen religions in search of the truth on God’s purpose and man’s destiny." Russell did report of how he, believing that the Bible taught that most of the people who have ever lived are now in eternal flames of torment, did turn to various eastern religions to see if they offered anything better. Russell never said that he "hungrily" did this; his report simply shows that he found nothing satisfactory in that search. 

Based on an inaccurate statement presented as being from a 1950 Watchtower, the article states concerning Russell:
He knew so little of the Christian faith and what the Bible taught that an “infidel” drove him into skepticism. Not only that, he filled his mind with pagan, occult beliefs before returning as an obviously last choice to the Bible.
The wording highly misrepresents Russell, and what actually happened.

The following is stated concerning Charles Taze Russell

Truth: “A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God. . . . Accept truth wherever you find it, no matter what it contradicts” (WT 7/1879, pp. 8-9).

This quotation is from Russell, and there is nothing at all wrong with what Russell stated. We find this quote being spread by many on various sites, in forums, in videos, etc. However, taking the quote out of context is evidently designed to lead one to believe that Russell was in some way in agreement with, in service of, the devil and/or "the occult". Let us look at the quote in context:

This question is one which every sincere Christian should ask and seek to answer. We should learn to love and value truth for its own sake; to respect and honor it by owning and acknowledging it wherever we find it and by whomsoever presented. A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God.
Perhaps no class of people are more apt to overlook this fact than the Christian. How often do they in controversy overlook and ignore truth presented by their opponents. This is particularly the case when arguing with an infidel. They feel at perfect liberty to dispute everything he says on religious subjects. This is not the correct principle. Many infidels are honest–as anxious to speak and believe the truth as are Christians–and if in converse with them we ignore truths which they may advance, we not only fail to convince them of our truths, but put an end to all hope of reaching them; for our failure to admit the evident truth which they advance begets in them contempt for the one who is not honest enough to admit one truth because he does not see how it can be reconciled to another. Accept truth wherever you find it, no matter what it contradicts, and rely for ability to afterwards harmonize it with others upon “The Spirit of truth, which shall guide you into all truth,” as Jesus promised.

Thus, if one approaches this with an honest heart, one will realize what Russell was saying. We should remember that the word Satan means "adversary", especially as being in opposition to Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Messiah sent by Jehovah. Russell was likening the infidels who are being used by Satan to oppose the truths of the Bible as though they were Satan; Jesus did something similar when he called the apostle Peter “Satan”. (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33) Peter, of course, was not literally Satan, but he was imitating Satan is speaking an untruth, and attempting to persuade Jesus to take a course contrary that which Jesus knew God wanted him to take. Likewise, the infidels who reject the creative account of the Bible may present a lot of truths in what they say, although they may misrepresent those truths to promote what is not true.

Likewise, if Satan, or his demons speak a truth, it is still true regardless of their purposes for stating the truth. Otherwise, the stated truth would a lie simply because of who stated it, which is self-contradictory. If something is actually "true", it cannot at the same time actually be a "lie".

Nevertheless, the implication of putting the quote from Russell on the site appears to be to imply that  absolutely everything Satan says is a lie, and that thus, Satan cannot speak one sentence without everything in that sentence being a lie. In the context of what Russell was saying, it would mean that every word and every sentence spoken by any infidel, even if it is true, has to be a lie because of who said it. Such an idea, if extended to the demons over whom Satan is prince, then the demons lied when they called Jesus: “the son of God,” and “Son of the Most High.” (Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11; Luke 1:32; 4:41; 8:48) Thus, if they cannot tell the truth at all, then we should believe that it is a lie to say that Jesus is the “Son of God,” or that Jesus is the “Son of the Most High.”

In Job 1:7, we read:

Job 1:7 - And Jehovah said to Satan, From where have you come? And Satan answered Jehovah and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
 -- Green's Literal Translation. 

Did Satan lie to Jehovah by saying that he had been going back and forth in the earth, etc.? We have no reason to think that he did so.

But didn’t Jesus say concerning Satan that “there is no truth in him?” — John 8:44, Word English.

Actually, the translators have worded Jesus’ words to have him say this. The better rendering would be, in reference to “the truth” that Jesus had just spoken of: “the truth is not in him.” (John 8:44) I don’t think Jesus intended to say that Satan can never tell a truth, anymore than he meant that those Jewish leaders to whom he spoke could never tell a truth. However, many times when Satan tells us a truth, it is framed in a setting of a lie, as in Genesis 3:5. By such methods he misrepresents the truth that he states with a lie.

The quote from Russell, taken out of context, has spread to many sites, publications, videos, and often quoted in a context to make it appear that he accepts occultism, Satanism, astrology, demonism, spiritism, and many other things. The obvious motive is to misrepresent Russell by leaving the impression that Russell believed that what Satan says is “the truth,” which is again far from Russell’s intent in his statement. Russell’s works attest of his view concerning Satan, that he was a liar, and the father of the lie, as Jesus said. The link below shows some links to many of Russell's works concerning Satan.

Russell, Blacks and Discrimination - c

This is in response to an article entitled, “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Blacks and Discrimination“, written by Jerry Bergman, Ph. D. We are not with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, so our response is not to defend the JWs or their organization, but rather we are responding regarding statements made concerning Charles Taze Russell. Russell, himself, was never a member of the JW organization, but many view things he wrote and stated as though he were laying down dogma as does the JW leadership.

Bergmen presents several quotes from the Golden Age. The Golden Age magazine was not printed in Russell’s day, but we mention this because of the way that quotes that magazine; many may associate what is stated there with Russell, although Russell had no control over what was printed in that magazine.. A sentence is quoted from the October 15, 1919 Golden Age and is offered as proof of discrimination. In the context, however, the author of the article was simply pointing out some of the arguments being presented for the case of national prohibition. After that, the article presents some of the arguments of related the negative consequences of national prohibition. The one sentence, however, is quoted out of context and placed in the context of “racial discrimination”, although I highly doubt the author had any intent of racial discrimination.

Bermgen states:

Another article refers to Orientals as “coolies” who were “cutthroats and murderers” (Golden Age, March 10, 1926, p. 374).

What was stated in context:

The story is told of Dr. Clark that while a missionary in India he listened to a song from a band of coolies who had been cutthroats and murderers, but had become converted. The chief one had once been captured and sold as a slave. No master could keep him, he was so wicked. A missionary bought him with the hope of saving him. Here the coolie heard that the blood saves!
“Could it cleanse a murderer?”
“One who killed five ment?”
“Yes; all sin!”
“One who killed ten, twenty, thirty?”
“Yes, all manner of sin.”
“I am that man.”
His life was transformed. Verily, can man do this, and can God not? (Jeremiah 18:4-6)
The story is evidently being retold from some other source, although the source is not stated, and we have not been able to find the source. At any rate, as respects the word “coolies”, the article simply reflects the common usage of that time. The word simply referred, not to all Orientals, but rather to unskilled Orientals. The term, like the term “darkie” as used by Stephen Foster, could be used in endearing manner, or it could be used as expressing a source of cheap labor. The former usage is, not, of itself, racism, any more than if one had said “Chinese”, “Japanese”, or “Khmer”. Nevertheless, it could also be used as derogatory term, but it should be obvious that this was not the intent in the article.

Bergmen further makes it appear that the author was claiming that all Orientals were “cutthroats and murderers”, which is definitely a deceitful method of quoting out of context, since it is apparent from the context that the author was referring to just this one “band”, not all Orientals. We do not know if Bergmen, himself, is the source of the material he is presenting, or if he is just repeating what he has read from someone else. Nevertheless, who ever came up with the quotes out of context had to know that they were misrepresenting what was actually stated.

Biological Inferiority of the Black Race

Bergman claims that the Watchtower “for decades officially taught the doctrine of biological inferiority of the black race.” We have found no evidence anywhere Brother Russell’s writings that he ever thought such a thing,

Getting to quotes from Brother Russell, the first is some selective quoting presented from The Watch Tower, April 1,1914, page 110:

Recognizing that it meant either the success or the failure of the…[Photo] Drama as respects the whites, we have been compelled to assign the colored friends to the gallery… Some were offended at this arrangement. We have received numerous letters from the colored friends, some claiming that it is not right to make a difference, others indignantly and bitterly denouncing [us] as enemies of the colored people. Some … told us that they believe it would be duty to stand up for equal rights and always to help the oppressed…. We again suggested that if a suitable place could be found in which the Drama could be presented for the benefit of the colored people alone, we would be glad to make such arrangements, or to cooperate with any others in doing so.

Bergmen then states:

The administration then concluded that the Watchtower interests were to be put ahead of efforts to achieve racial justice and human rights, a policy that continues today.

Brother Russell, like Jesus and the apostles in the Bible, did not believe that the Christian's mission is to reform Satan's world.

Bergment then presents some selective quotes:

Our explanations were … it is a question of putting either the interests of God’s cause first, or else the interests of the race first. We believed it our duty to put God first and the truth first–at any cost to others or to ourself! We explained that we thought that all the colored brethren should know… that we love to serve them in any way possible and to give them the very best we have to give of the Gospel message; and that it is only a question of whether our giving to them in one way would entirely deprive us of giving the truth to others (Watchtower, April 1, 1914:110).

Bergmen’s method of quoting and his comments make it appear that as a result of the incident at the Photo-Drama showing, that Brother Russell decided a new policy for the WTS. In reality, Russell was reiterating the policy from the beginning of not getting involved in the world’s politics and social issues. However, the kind of selective quoting presented by Bergmen is very misleading, for it leaves out various parts and often combines one thought as being associated with something that was not originally intended.

We will present the entire article below.

   WE might have anticipated that many colored people would be deeply interested in THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. But it did not impress itself upon us until gradually their number increased to about twenty-five per cent. of the whole audience. Of course, we were glad to see them, glad that they were interested in the DRAMA. We had the same feeling respecting them as others; but it was quickly discerned that it was not a case of feeling, but that, whereas the colored people of New York City are about five per cent. of the population, in our audiences they are about twenty-five per cent. and the number increasing. What shall we do? As the attendance of the colored people would increase, proportionately the number of the whites would decrease; for explain it how we will, a majority of whites prefer not to intermingle closely with other races.
Recognizing that it meant either the success or the failure of the enterprise of the DRAMA as respects the whites, we have been compelled to assign the colored friends to the gallery, which, however, is just as good for seeing and hearing as any other part of The Temple. Some were offended at this arrangement.
    We have received numerous letters from the colored friends, some claiming that it is not right to make a difference, others indignantly and bitterly denouncing us as enemies of the colored people. Some, confident that Brother Russell had never sanctioned such a discrimination, told that they believe it would be duty to stand up for equal rights and always to help the oppressed, etc. We were obliged to explain the facts, assuring all of our loving interest in the colored people, and of our desire to do them good, and not injury. We again suggested that if a suitable place could be found in which the DRAMA could be presented for the benefit of the colored people alone, we would be glad to make such arrangements, or to co-operate with any others in doing so.
   Our explanations were apparently entirely satisfactory to all of the fully consecrated. To these we explained that it is a question of putting either the interests of God’s Cause first, or else the interests of the race first. We believed it our duty to put God first and the Truth first– at any cost to others or to ourself! We explained that we thought that all the colored brethren should know our attitude toward them–they should know that we love to serve them in any way possible and to give them the very best we have to give of the Gospel Message; and that it is only a question of whether our giving to them in one way would deprive us of giving the Truth to others. [R5434 : page 111]
    Some who were still tenacious and quarrelsome we merely reminded of our Lord’s declaration that in inviting visitors into the house it is the place of the host to say where they shall sit, and then we showed them the parable of the man who chose the chief seat of honor and was given a lower one.
   In answer to the query as to how our course of conduct squared with the Golden Rule, we replied that it squares exactly. We would wish others to put God first. If our personal interests are or ever have been in conflict with the real and apparently best interests of the Lord’s Cause, it is a part of our consecration vow to ignore our interests in favor of the interests of the Lord’s Cause. This is what we mean by the declaration that we are dead to self and alive to our God as New Creatures.
   We reminded one dear sister that the Lord enjoins humility, and assures us that unless we humble ourselves we shall not be exalted. If nature favors the colored brethren and sisters in the exercise of humility it is that much to their advantage, if they are rightly exercised by it. A little while, and our humility will work out for our good. A little while, and those who shall have been faithful to their Covenant of Sacrifice will be granted new bodies, spiritual, beyond the veil, where color and sex distinctions will be no more. A little while, and the Millennial Kingdom will be inaugurated, which will bring Restitution to all mankind–restitution to the perfection of mind and body, feature and color, to the grand original standard, which God declared “very good,” and which was lost for a time through sin, but which is soon to be restored by the powerful Kingdom of Messiah.