Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Beginning of the Time of Trouble - Quotes From Russell

By Ronald R. Day, Senior
Many people like to quote Russell's earlier views concerning 1914, and make the claim that Russell was a false prophet because he voiced expectations concerning 1914, but totally disregard what Russell stated elsewhere. Actually, Russell disclaimed that his expectations were prophecy, but that they were his on conclusions based on his study of Bible prophecies. Thus, never having made any prophecies, the statements of Deuteronomy 18:15-22 are not applicable to Russell.
In this presentation, however, we will be focusing on what Russell stated between the years 1904 until 1914, especially as related to the time of trouble (Armageddon) as beginning, not ending, in 1914.
Please note that Russell had no expectations similar the Jehovah's Witnesses regarding Armageddon. He was certainly not expecting that all of a sudden millions of non-believers would be eternally destroyed. His view of Armageddon was, in effect, almost the opposite of that later presented by Joseph Rutherford.
Up until 1904 Russell had continued to accept Barbour's view that the time of trouble was to end, not  begin, in 1914. In 1904, Russell rejected his earlier view, and he came to realize that "the time of trouble" was to begin, not end, in 1914. We presented before a series of quotes that show this, but evidently the quotes given were too broad and did not focus on the point being made so that many have failed to appreciate what Russell was saying. We have been asked to present evidence that Russell was indeed teaching that the "time of trouble" (Armageddon) was to begin, not end in 1914. In order to not get sidetracked from the focus on the time of trouble, we present a few brief quotes below that most directly show Russell's expectations between 1904 up to 1914, as well as some statements after 1914.
We begin with the announcement of his change of view in 1904:
We now expect that the anarchistic culmination of the great time of trouble which will precede the Millennial blessings will be after October, 1914 A.D.–very speedily thereafter, in our opinion –"in one hour," "suddenly." -- Universal Anarchy: Just Before or After October, 1914 A.D.? ZWT, July 1, 1904, page 197, Reprints 3389,
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/htdb0350.htm
He plainly states in that article that he had come to believe that the the time of trouble will be "after [not before, as he had previously assumed] October, 1914 A.D." This is the opposite of the view he had held before.
Also in 1904:
It is evident that the coming of universal anarchy after the "harvest," after October 1914 A.D., has nothing whatever to do with either the presence of the Reaper or the setting up of his Kingdom. -- "Fear Not, O Zion", ZWT, August 1, 1904, Beginning on page 229, Reprints 3405.
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/htdb0351.htm
Again, speaking of the time of trouble as "universal anarchy", he speaks of it as coming "after October 1914 A.D." Thus this demonstrates that his expectation was no longer that the time of trouble (Armageddon) was to end in 1914.
Again, in 1904:
The fourth testimony of the angel respecting the great time of trouble closing "the time of the end" is not yet fulfilled; but on every hand we can see that the precedent conditions are ripening. This fourth feature is expressed in the words, "And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." From other prophetic Scriptures we glean that this great trouble lies 10 years in the future. It will be ushered in at the expiration of what the Scriptures designate the "times of the Gentiles," October, 1914 A.D. -- "Lessons Drawn From St. Louis Exposition", October 2, 1904, Pittsburgh Gazette.
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/Newspaper_Sermons/NS06.asp#NS108:1
Here Brother Russell again speaks of that "time of trouble" as not coming before 1914, as he had assumed before his change of viewpoint in 1904, but that it would be "ushered in at the expiration of what the Scriptures designate the 'time of the Gentiles,' October 1914 A.D."
Also still in the year 1904, Russell wrote regarding the restoration of Israel:
It is to be accomplished in the day of trouble, shortly after October, 1914, we believe. -- "Prince of Peace" Isaiah 9:1-7: ZWT, December 1, 1904, page 364, Reprints 3468.
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/htdb0355.htm
Again, Brother Russell shows that he was expecting the time of trouble to begin in 1914, and that "shortly after October, 1914" that Israel would be restored. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 paved the way for Israel to be restored.
In 1909:
The Harvesting of this age, we understand has been in progress since 1878, and will terminate in 1914, with the beginning of a great time of trouble upon Christendom. -- "Lesson Review" March 21, ZWT, February 15, 1909, page 57, Reprints 4336
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/r4336b.htm
Here Brother Russell again refers to the 1914 as "the beginning of a great time of trouble", further showing that he was expecting the time of trouble to begin, not end in 1914, as he had thought before 1904.
In 1909:
These 2520 years we believe will expire with October, 1914; at that time we believe the Gentile lease of power will expire, and that the God of heaven will set up his Kingdom in Israel. We do not expect universal peace to immediately ensue because Christ is styled the Prince of Peace. On the contrary, to our understanding the collapse of the nations will be through a fierce strife, "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation," in which "there shall be no peace to him that goeth out, nor to him that cometh in," because God will set every man’s hand against his neighbor. Our belief is that the warfare between capital and labor, emperors and peoples, will be short, sharp, decisive, and bring untold calamity upon all concerned. If people could only discern it, they would avoid it, but their eyes are holden; they see not, neither do they understand. All the parties to the conflict are plunging into it, each intent on gaining its point, and each oblivious to its own best interests. -- "Times of the Gentiles", The National Labor Tribune, July 11, 1909.
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/Newspaper_Sermons/NS46.asp
Brother Russell here shows that he was not expecting universal peace to come in October of 1914, but rather the time of trouble in which "there shall be no peace." We believe that peace was indeed taken away in 1914, and while there have been periods of time without actual open warfare, warfare has none the less continued either openly or covertly ever since. Some even claim that the Great War (World War I), although it officially ended in 1918, has actually continued to be fought to this day.
In 1910:
I believe October, 1914, is the time when we may expect that great time of trouble, because it seems to our judgment, as far as we can understand the Scriptures, that is the time when the Gentile period of lease, or tenure, will expire, and when, therefore, we may expect that the time of trouble shall be ushered in; and that time of trouble we understand is the one the Scriptures tell about–a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, a time of trouble which shall overwhelm all sorts of government, and every institution of the present time; and a time of trouble which thus will make ready and prepare mankind for the glorious reign of Christ and his Church, for the blessing and uplifting of all the families of the earth. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Question 555:4 (1910).
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/QB/qb.asp?xRef=Q555:7#Q555:7.
Brother Russell again stated that he was expecting (not giving any prophecies) that 1914 will be when the great time of trouble would be "ushered in". This is in contradiction to his earlier statements (before 1904) that the time of trouble was to end, not begin, in 1914. Also in this quote, Russell shows that he did not believe, as Rutherford later claimed, that the time of trouble (Armageddon) would eternally destroy all who opposed him, but rather that this time of trouble would "make ready and prepare mankind... for the blessing and uplifting of all families of the earth."
In 1910:
Nineteen hundred and fourteen is the time when the "Gentile Times" will end. What does that mean? I do not know, but I think it is when God lets go in a general sense of the world, and permits things to take their course; and we can readily suppose, as the Apostle says, that the course of nature would be set on fire, because of strife. In the world of mankind, I shall expect a time of great trouble, which the Bible marks out as having its beginning about October, 1914. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Question 76:1 (1910).
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/QB/qb.asp?xRef=Q76:2#Q76:2
Brother Russell, in harmony with many statements he made elsewhere, again states that he did not know what was going to happen in 1914. He then gives what he thinks, and his conclusion as what he believes the Bible states will happen. That conclusion is that the great time of trouble was to have "its beginning about October, 1914." Note again, "beginning", not that it would end in 1914, as he had thought before 1904.
In 1911, answering the question, How long after the end of time of the Gentiles will it be before the first of the dead are awakened from the tomb?:
Guessing would not be very satisfactory, but our guess would be that after the times of the Gentiles come to a conclusion there will be a great time of trouble as the Scriptures clearly point out — trouble as never was since there was a nation. Then, following that trouble would come the reign of righteousness, blessings, increase of knowledge, God’s favor among men, and the living nations would all be more or less brought to a knowledge of the Lord. How long that would require I do not know.  -- What Pastor Russell Said, Q589:3.
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/QB/qb.asp?xRef=Q589:5#Q589:5 (1911)
Again, Brother Russell states that he was expecting that the time of trouble was to come after the end of the times of Gentiles (1914). Also we should note that he was not expecting that the time of trouble (Armageddon) was to bring eternal destruction on the masses of the people, but that after the trouble the nations would be brought to a knowledge of the Lord. Again, he states that he does not know how long after 1914 that this will require.
In 1911:
Our readers know that for some years we have been expecting this Age to close with an awful time of trouble, and we expect it to break out with suddenness and force not long after October, 1914, which, so far as we can understand the Scriptures, is the date at which the Times of the Gentiles –the lease of earth’s dominions to the Gentiles–will expire. -- "Loosing the Four Winds of Heaven", May 15, 1911, page 146, Reprints 4822.
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/r4822.htm
Still Russell was stating that he was "expecting" (not stating a prophecy) that the time of trouble would break out not long after October of 1914. He was not expecting the time of trouble to end in 1914 as he had thought before 1904.
In 1912:
We are expecting in October, 1914, that a great change will be due. Now, how quickly will it come? Whether on the stroke of the clock or not we do not know. We believe that it will land upon humanity by that time. Perhaps some of it will come before that, but we believe it will be stayed off until that time. Now, dear friends, what if it does not? We are just as well off as the rest. That is what the Bible states. If it does not state that to you, we have no quarrel. And if it does not come we will not try to bring it about. But, on the contrary, we will try to practice peace and holiness withal. We are children of peace and peacemakers, not strife breeders. But we believe the Bible teaches October, 1914, as the time. If that is incorrect for a year, or five, or one hundred years, no matter, it is coming some time, whether we have it right or not. -- Convention Sermons Report.
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/bsl/Library/Russell/CONVRPRT/crs.pdf
Russell continues to confirm that he was "expecting" (not setting forth a prophecy) that the time of trouble would come in 1914.
In 1912:
We are not at liberty to guess when the end of the trouble will be. Whether all of the trouble will come in the next two or three years we do not know. But we think that the most serious part of the trouble will occupy a very short time. -- "Spared in the Day of Trouble", ZWT, October 1, 1912, page 326, Reprints 5119;
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/htdb0257.htm
Notice here that Russell was speaking about the end of the time of trouble, not its beginning. Two years later from the date of the above would be 1914, three years would be 1915. Brother Russell continues to show his expectation that in 1914 the time of trouble was to begin; he also states he was not at liberty to guess when the end of that trouble would be. Many of the Bible students were expecting it to last for one year, from October of 1914 to October of 1915 (according the parallels as presented by John Edgar). Others presented other dates, 1918, 1920, 1921, 1925, etc. While Russell allowed the possibility for many of these dates, he never actually condoned any.
In 1913:
We understand that the Gentile Times will close in October 1914, and that consequently we expect, speedily following that date, the transfer of the rulership of earth to the great King of Glory, in a "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." -- "Let Your Moderation Be Known", ZWT, June 1, 1913, page 167, Reprints 5249.
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/r5249.htm
Brother Russell persists in his expectation that in October of 1914 the great time of trouble was to begin.
In 1914 (Around January):
Evidently in response to those who were claiming that Russell was expecting the end of the world in 1914, early in 1914 Russell released the article in "The Bible Students Monthly", entitled: "End of the Word in 1914 - Not the View of Pastor Russell, Nor of the I.B.S.A." Russell was not expecting the end of the world in 1914.
http://ctr.reslight.net/images/bsm1914.jpg
http://ctr.reslight.net/?p=483
In 1914 (Before October):
Suppose that the Gentile Times should end in October, 1914, what would be the logical thing to expect? Well, I am not sure what to expect. {Page Q89} We could not be sure, we would not know, whether it would take the Lord fifteen minutes or fifteen days or fifteen years to put out the kingdoms of this world. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Question 79:1.
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/QB/qb.asp?xRef=Q79:1#Q79:1
This gives further evidence that Russell was not expecting the "end of the world" in 1914. It does not directly state that he was expecting the time of trouble to begin in 1914, but if one is familiar with the rest of his works, one would realize that to be what he saying. He again states that he does not know how long this time of trouble would last.
In 1914 (before October):
I expect October will come and the kings of the earth – the Gentiles – will not know that their lease is expired. What then? A thunder clap out of a clear sky, that will begin to show these kings that a new Ruler is taking possession of the world. How will it come? I do not know the particulars. I have merely the outline.... How long did it take for the trouble that came upon the Jews to destroy them? About one year. After the forty years are ended, what might be expected here? Perhaps one year here might be enough of this trouble. [As John Edgar had suggested] God only knows. We are merely offering an idea. So I will expect 1915 will be a very severe year. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Question 89:1.
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/QB/qb.asp?xRef=Q89:1#Q89:1
We continue to find that Russell was expecting (not giving a prophecy) the time of trouble to begin in 1914 and that Russell still maintains that "God only knows" how long that time of trouble may last. He alludes to Edgar's parallel of one year, which he had presented in the pages of the Watch Tower in 1905.
=====================
Below we are providing some quotes from sites that are misrepresenting what Russell taught by not recognizing that Russell had, in 1904, changed his view concerning the time of trouble.
One site, claiming to present the facts, states: "It was not declared that the world would enter the time of trouble in 1914, as the time of trouble was said to have started in 1874." The site gives as proof a quote from Russell that was written before 1904. The statement, however, is not factual that "It was not declared the world would enter the time of trouble in 1914", for as we have shown above, this was indeed exactly what Russell was expecting - at least from 1904 onward -- to happen in 1914.
Another page on the same site states: "1914 was predicted to be the 'end' of the system of things, the conclusion of Armageddon and the start of the earthly paradise." Again, some quotes from Russell before 1904 are presented to prove this. This disregards that from 1904 on up to 1914 Brother Russell was stating that the time of trouble (which he viewed at that time as being the same as Armageddon) was to begin, not end, in 1914, as we have shown above.
Another site states almost the very same thing as the above, saying, "One of the most misleading statements in Watchtower publications is that they accurately foretold 1914 to be the 'start' of the conclusion of this system of things. In reality, 1914 was predicted to be the 'end' of the system of things, the conclusion of Armageddon and the start of the earthly paradise." Again, however, Russell's statements related to the time of trouble between 1904 to 1914 are ignored. From 1904 onward, Brother Russell was indeed expecting the time of trouble to begin, not end, in 1914.
Another author asks the question, "What was expected to happen in 1914?", and in the posting given, it is evidently thought to be giving an answer to that question. However, by disregarding Russell's change of view in 1904, it fails to accurately answer the question and leaves the reader to conclude that Russell expecting Armageddon to end in 1914.
Another author states similarly, "Prior to 1914 However 1914 was seen as the date that would be the 'end of the time of trouble.'" Again, Russell's change of view on this in 1904 is ignored, and the reader is left thinking that Russell was expecting the time of trouble was to end in 1914 right on up to 1914.
Please note that Brother Russell was never a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, nor was he speaking with any authority as now claimed by the JWs' governing body. He did not make acceptance of his views regarding chronology and time prophecies a standard for fellowship, and any were free to accept or reject his views. Nor are we endeavoring to defend the JW organization, as we recognize that the usurpation of power their leadership claims is not authorized by God, Jesus, or the apostles.
Additionally, we realize that the JW leadership has made many false statements concerning what Brother Russell had been expecting for 1914. However, his expectation that the time of trouble was to begin in 1914, not end, in 1914 is a historical fact, at least from 1904 onward.

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