Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The JW Organization, Armageddon, 1914, and Russell

By Ronald R. Day
This was originally posted in a forum in response to some statements made concerning Charles Taze Russell, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Armageddon, and 1914. We are editing, adding a little more, and reposting this here.
Evidently, the site we originally responded to has now been removed.
The claim was made that Jehovah's Witnesses had been predicting Armageddon would come in 1914. We should first note that the Jehovah's Witnesses did not exist before 1914, and thus they -- not having yet come into existence -- did not predict anything concerning 1914.
The author claimed that the organization that Russell had started was taken over by Rutherford and that they were not called "Jehovah's Witnesses" until the 1930s.
Regarding the JW Organization and the claim that "the organization that was started by Russell and taken over by Rutherford", we should emphasize that we are not associated with the JWs, nor do we preach the JW organization. Russell did not believe in such an organization, and preached against such authoritarianism. Russell did not “start” an organization that he preached against. The Bible Students -- as a whole (represented by the majority) -- did not ever call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Our contention is that Russell was never a member of the JW organization; Russell did indeed, at least from 1904 on up to 1914, believe that “Armageddon” - the time of trouble - was to begin in 1914. He died in 1916 still with the belief that the time of trouble had begun in 1914, and we believe that we have been in the time of trouble ever since 1914.
Before 1904, Russell believed that Armageddon was to begin sometime before 1914, possibly about 1910, and that it was to end in 1914. Russell partly adopted this belief from Barbour. Evidently John Edgar had concluded that the “time of trouble” was to begin, not end, in 1914, and that it was to last for one year, that is, until October of 1915. In 1904, Russell partially adopted Edgar’s conclusions on this in that Russell concluded that the time of trouble was indeed to begin, not end, in 1914. However, he did not fully accept Edgar’s parallel application that would seem to indicate that the time of trouble would be over in 1915. In the June 15, 1905 issue of the WT, Russell presented both John Edgar’s and U. G. Lee’s parallels. Edgar pointed to the year 1915 as the a possible year of Christendom’s destruction (the end of the time of trouble). Lee’s chart pointed to the year 1920. Russell presented these views, but he never actually adopted either of them, although he mentioned them a few times between 1904 up to 1914. Russell several times stated that we do not know how long after 1914 the time of trouble was to last.
Russell did not, however, believe in the “JW” kind of Armageddon. He did not believe that Armageddon was to eternally destroy all unbelievers; indeed, Russell preached against this idea (as many Second Adventists in his day held to a similar doctrine). Russell’s view was that Armageddon was a period of time -- the time of trouble -- in which the people of the nations would be chastised in preparation for the blessings of the kindgom.
Regarding the claim that "the organization started by Russell ... did not CALL THEMSELVES 'Jehovah’s Witnesses' until the 1930’s.
This is somewhat misleading, since the Bible Students movement was not an "organization" in the days of Russell. Russell created several legal business organizations (The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, The International Bible Students Association (in England), and The People Pulpit's Association), but none of these were created to be a "religious organization", and Russell did not present them as being such. It was not until after Russell died that Rutherford virtually destroyed the WTS as Russell had intended for it to be, and began preaching that it was "Jehovah's visible organization". As a whole (represented by the vast majority), the Bible Students did not come to call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. By 1928, according to the JWs’ own publications, more than 75% of the Bible Students movement had rejected Rutherford’s new organization, and his “organization” gospel.
See:
Bible Students Did Not Become Jehovah's Witnesses
Yes, the JWs do link themselves with Russell, and they falsely project their organization as having existed in the days of Russell. Russell, however, did not believe in such authoritarianism, nor did he believe in an “outward organization” such as Rutherford created after Russell died.
Russell believed that one can be saved by grace through faith in the blood of Jesus, regardless of denominational affiliation. Russell stated: “the Lord in Heaven records as members of His true Church all the saintly — whether Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, Greek Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. — and none others…. Do we not see that a part of our mistake was in calling the outward organization the Church of Christ, instead of remembering that the Lord alone writes the names of the Church, that He alone reads the hearts, that He alone is the Judge, and that He alone has the right to blot out the names of those who become reprobates? … We must see that the Church is a comparatively small company of saintly footstep followers of Jesus, irrespective of sectarian lines.” And Russell stated: “all who are worshiping any church organization should be warned. See thou do it not.’ These are thy fellow servants. ‘Worship God.’ `Rev. 22:9`.” He further stated: “so far as the true Church is concerned, the only authority in it is the Lord, the Head of the Church, and his Word, and the words of those whom he specially chose to be his mouth-pieces, the apostles.” And, “we believe that in every nation and denomination there are some true saints of God, members therefore of the true Church of God.”
See:
On "St. Peter's Keys"
http://mostholyfaith.com/bible/reprints/Z1880JAN.asp#Z7:7
http://mostholyfaith.com/bible/OverlandMonthly/overland.asp?xRef=OV383#OV385:3
.
No, Russell did not start the JW organization; it was started by Joseph Rutherford. Rutherford, by means of deceit and legal trickery, gained control of the legal entity -- the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society -- had it redesigned to accommodate his “organization” goals, and proceeded to use that legal entity to create his religious organization, which organization the vast majority of the Bible Students rejected.
Regarding the Watchtower claim that God chose the Bible Students (whom they retrospectively claim as having been “Jehovah’s Witnesses”) in 1918 or 1919:
Many years ago, we produced a tract entitled “The Watchtower’s Self-Contradiction About the Ransom”. In that tract, we pointed out a self-contradiction in the JW claim about 1918. In 1990, the Watchtower stated that one of the reasons God chose their “organization” is that in 1918 they were teaching “the truth” about the ransom. We pointed out, however, that what the Watch Tower in 1918 was teaching about the ransom is not the same as what the Watchtower today is teaching about the ransom, which leads to a self-contradiction.
Also, if God chose the Bible Students back then in 1918/19, the JW reasoning is flawed, since by 1928, the Bible Students movement (as a whole) that was existing in 1918/19 had rejected Rutherford’s new organization gospel. Thus, in effect, the Bible Students movement of 1918 (as a whole - represented by the majority) refused to accept Rutherford’s new organization. The Bible Students movement has retained the teaching of the ransom for all, while Rutherford rejected that teaching. We do not know of any of the Bible Students, however, who believe that God chose the Bible Students in 1918 or 1919, etc.
It was claimed that although they did not call themselves Jehovah's Witnesses, before 1914, they are the same organization. We disagree since the JW organization did not exist in the days of Russell, and since Russell preached against such “outward” organizations having any scriptural claim to be the true church.
The Bible Students, as a whole, never called themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, since the Bible Students movement, as a whole, represented by the majority, rejected Rutherford’s new organization and its designation of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Regarding the JW teaching on the "faithful and discreet slave":
We believe that the JWs are in error in their teaching of the “faithful and discreet slave”.class.
It was stated that we are wrong in saying that the JWs' Armageddon teaching came into existence after Charles Taze Russell died. Although Rutherford had hinted at a new teaching on Armageddon for many years, in 1938 he officially denied the “Armageddon” message as Russell had taught it, and replaced it with the Armageddon message that the JWs basically still teach to this day. Rutherford, in effect, claimed that you have to join his religious organization or else you will be eternally destroyed in Armageddon. This new “Armageddon” teaching, which is what we referred to as the JW Armageddon teaching, is indeed almost the opposite of what Russell taught and believed. No, Russell did not believe in that kind of Armageddon, and yes, that teaching of Rutherford did indeed come into existence after Russell died. Russell did not teach such a doctrine, nor do Bible Students today teach such a doctrine.
It is often claimed that, when 1914 failed, Russell changed 1914 to 1915; usually some quotes are provided from the 1915 editions of the Volumes 2 and 3 of the Studies in the Scriptures compared with earlier versions to show that Russell made such a change. One such change often pointed is on page 99 of "The Time Is at Hand":
“Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” (`Rev. 16:14`), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced. The gathering of the armies is plainly visible from the standpoint of God’s Word.”
However, this change did not take after 1914, but rather it is found as early as the 1911 edition of the "The Time is At Hand". Nevertheless, this change from 1914 to 1915 which evidently came in the 1911 edition of the “The Time is At Hand” has been a puzzlement.
Some have quoted page 99 of the 1915 or 1916 edition of Volume II of the Scriptures Studies, and offer this as proof of their claim that when 1914 failed, Russell changed the date to 1915. This method is misleading, however, since the change on page 99 appeared at least three years before 1914, and not in 1915, nor in 1916, as they would make it appear. In other words, in Volume II of the Studies, the 1911 edition, on page 99, 1914 was changed to 1915, but this change was not made in 1915 (or 1916), as some report; this change appeared in the Volume II as early as 1911. We have found no report, however, of such an change being made in the pages of the Watch Tower, and, thus, it has been speculated that the change may have been made without Russell’s authorization. In his statements elsewhere from 1911 until his death in 1916, he never mentions such a change, and appears to be ignorant of such a change. The change to 1914 to 1915 in the context does not really make sense, although taken out of context, one could conclude that Russell may have changed this to correspond with John Edgar’s thought that the time of trouble was to end in 1915; that is the “time of trouble” was to last for one year, from October of 1914 to October of 1915. Russell, however, although he presented Edgar’s, as well as U. G. Lee’s conclusions in the pages of the Watch Tower of 1905, did not fully adopt either of these conclusions. He maintained that we do not know how long the time of trouble was to last, although he stated that it probably would not last for more than a year.
The change could be seen to reflect Edgar’s view that the time of trouble was to end in 1915, a view that many Bible Students, long before 1914, held in high regard, although such a thought does not actually fit the context.
The earlier editions of Volume II read:
In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of A. D. 1914.
The change that appeared as early as the 1911 edition, three years before 1914, reads as follows:
In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A. D. 1915.
The year 1914 was changed to 1915. As stated, and in context, it would appear that the 1911 edition would, by this one sentence, have the Times of the Gentiles to end in 1915, which, however, from the context, we know that this was not what is meant. If Russell authorized this change, he evidently did so with Edgar’s parallel in mind, which seemed to indicate that the time of trouble was to begin in around October of 1914 and end around October of 1915. Nevertheless, we highly doubt that Russell would have authorized such a change that would be so much out of context, however.
We will also note that this sentence in the LHMM edition of 1937 reads:
In view of this strong evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world begin in 1914, preparatory to the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
This latter edition actually more accurately reflects Russell’s view that he adopted in 1904, ten years before 1914. It is in harmony with what Russell was presenting in the pages of the Watch Tower and elsewhere in 1911. P. S. L. Johnson, who edited the LHMM edition of the Studies, had worked closely with Russell as Russell’s personal secretary.
Nevertheless, at the time of this writing, we do not know for a certainty as to why such a change was made in the way that it was made in the 1911 edition. We can only state that the LHMM edition actually is more correct in expressing the view that Russell adopted in the year 1904, ten years before 1914. It may have been that when changes were made that someone somehow, either by accident, or on purpose, also changed the wording on page 99 from 1914 to 1915 (and in many other places). We do know, however, that it was not Russell’s thought that the end of the Gentiles should be changed to one year later. His overwhelming testimony throughout the pages of Watch Tower attest to this. If any of the Bible Students might have more information on this, feel free to respond below with that information.
See:
Russell's Changes to the Scripture Studies
Regarding page 101 of "The Time Is At Hand":
Page 101 reflects Russell’s view before 1904. The original on page 101 reads:
that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty ” (Rev. 16: 14.), which will end in A. D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.”
This was changed in the 1911 edition to:
that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.
(We have the pdf copies of the 1889 and 1911 editions before 1914; thus, we can only relate what changes we find between these two editions — the change may have been made earlier than 1911)
Again, Russell never stated in the pages of the Watch Tower about a change on page 101 of “The Time Is At Hand”.
The problem with the latter is that Russell did not, in 1911, believe that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” had already commenced. The original view he held was that Armageddon had begun in 1874 or 1878; he later changed his view to express that Armageddon may commence around 1910 or 1911. However, from his writings in the Watch Tower and elsewhere, we see that from 1904 onward Russell was not expecting Armageddon to commence until 1914. Thus, this change from 1914 to 1915 in the 1911 edition really doesn’t make much sense in the context as related to what Russell was stating elsewhere. Had Russell actually authorized any change on page 101, we are sure that he would have also made it clear that he was not expecting the “battle of the great of God Almighty” to commence until 1914; as it reads, however, it makes no sense when compared with what Russell was saying elsewhere.
Johnson’s 1937 edition therefore reads:
that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev 16:14) will begin in A.D. 1914, and that it will end in the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership.
This is actually in harmony with what Russell was saying in 1911. On the other hand, we have found no verification that Russell ever authorized any change on page 101, thus, his many statements elsewhere should take precendent of this change in the 1911 edition.
For instance, in 1911, he wrote, 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.
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. He states that he does not know how long after 1914 that this will require.
Another quote from 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.
Still Russell was stating that he was “expecting” (not prophesying) 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.
Another quote from Russell that contains a change from his earlier editions:
In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the Gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that that date will see the disintegration of the rule of imperfect men. -- The Time is At Hand, page 76.
The editions before 1915 read:
In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the Gentiles, i. e., the full end of their lease of dominion, vill be reached in A. D. 1914; and that that date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men.
Yes, Russell did believe that the Gentile Times were to end in 1914; he was not, however, expecting the JW kind of Armageddon, not for 1914 or any other time. He was expecting Armageddon to begin in 1914, but he was not expecting an Armageddon that would eternally destroy unbelievers.
This change in 1915 edition was not something new, however. The change made in the 1915 edition actually reflects Russell's change of viewpoint that had taken place in 1904, ten years before 1914. By "disintegration", it should be evident that Russell did not mean that all of man's rule would immediately be gone in 1914, since, at the time that he made the change, 1914 was already past. Nevertheless, the change reflected the view he had been expressing since 1904. In 1904, Russell came to the conclusion that 1914 was to see the beginning, not the end, of the time of trouble. In other words, from 1904 onward, Russell was expecting to see the beginning of the disintegration of the rule of imperfect men in 1914, not the full end of the rule of imperfect men.
Russell made a few corrections to the Scripture Studies to reflect his change of view, but there has never been complete updating of the Studies in the Scriptures to reflect his change of view in 1904. This has left many inconsistencies in the Studies in the Scriptures. Russell, from 1904 onward, was expecting, not the end of the time of trouble in 1914, but rather the beginning of the time of trouble; thus what he was saying in the Watch Tower, in his sermons, and elsewhere, between the years 1904 override what he had stated earlier in the Scripture Studies. See:
CTR’s Expectations Concerning 1914;
Finally, many cite The Time Is At Hand 1915 edition, page 242. The quote from page 242 appears in the 1889 edition as:
The "Gentile Times" prove that the present goverments must all be overturned before the close of A. D. 1914.
The quote on page 242 appears in the 1911 edition as:
The "Gentile Times" prove that the present governments must all be overturned about the close of A. D. 1914.
We do not have a 1915 edition, but the online edition at mostholyfaith reads:
The "Gentile Times" prove that the present governments must all be overturned about the close of A.D. 1915.
This reflects that change reported for the 1915 edition.
The LHMM 1937 edition reads:
The Gentile Times prove that the present governments must start to be overturned about October, 1914.
Again, we do not find any place where Russell ever authorized any change on page 242 of "The Time Is At Hand".
The 1889 edition reflects Russell's view before 1904.
The 1911 edition does not actuallly harmonize with what Russell was saying elsewhere between 1904 up to 1914, although one could, by saying "about 1914" see such as reflecting Russell's view that time of trouble would come in 1914, and end sometime after 1914. Nevertheless, Russell stated severals times that he was not setting any date for the end of the time of trouble.
Not having editions between 1911 and 1915, we cannot say for a certainty when any change was made from 1914 to 1915 on page 242, as it appears in many editions printed to date. It could have been anywhere from 1912 to 1915, if it evidently appears in the 1915 edition. At any rate, "about the close of 1915" could seem to harmonize with Edgar's view (presented in the pages of the Watch Tower in 1905) that the time of trouble would be over in one year after October of 1914. However, this view, again, does not fit the context of what Russell was talking about, that is, "the Gentile Times", since Russell never believed that the Gentile Times would end at the close of 1915. Nowhere in his writings elsewhere did he ever say that the Gentile Times would end at the close of the year 1915. Russell continued to believe until his death in 1916 that the Gentile Times ended in October of 1914. At the same time, one should need understand that Russell believed that October of 1914 was end of 1914, and the Jewish year corresponding to 1915 began in October of 1914. Thus, at times, Russell referred to the year 1915 as beginning in October of 1914.
The LHMM edition of 1937, again, reflects what Russell had actually been saying from 1904 onward, that the time of trouble was to begin in 1914, which would also mean the beginning of the disintegration of the Gentile Kingdoms.
Nevertheless, the myth prevails that Russell, when he allegedly saw that 1914 had failed, changed 1914 to 1915. The following quotes from Russell between October of 1914 until his death in 1916 show that Russell did not change 1914 to 1915:
Watch Tower, February 15, 1915, page 53:
For a wise purpose He permits this reign of lawlessness, this condition which evokes universal odium. Our thought is that we should look for still further evidences day by day that the Gentile Times have ended, and that God's Kingdom has begun its work.
Watch Tower, February 15, 1915, page 53:
We believe that the Times of the Gentiles ended just on time, as shown in Volume II. of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.
Watch Tower, February 15, 1915, page 55:
The Times of the Gentiles have ended, and the nations are now disintegrating.
Russell certainly believed, in February of 1915, that the Gentile Times had already ended. He had not changed the date to October of 1915. Russell, however, by his various statements from 1911 to 1916, seemed to be unaware that of the changes that had appeared in the 1911 editions of his STUDIES. This provides evidence that he was never aware that the dates had been changed in the 1911 edition of his books.
Watch Tower April 15, 1915, page 127:
We believe that the dates have proven to be quite right. We believe that Gentile Times have ended, and that God is now allowing the Gentile Governments to destroy themselves, in order to prepare the way for Messiah's Kingdom.
Rather than saying that 1914 was the wrong date, Russell states that he still believed that the dates had proven to be quite correct. Thus, in April of 1915, Russell had not changed the date 1914 to 1915.
Watch Tower June 1, 1915, page 166:
We do not think that the Gospel Age fully ended in September 1914, but merely the Times of the Gentiles.
Again, this shows that in June of 1915, he still believed that the Gentile Times had already ended in 1914; he was not looking for them to end in October of 1915.
Watch Tower, July 15, 1915, page 215:
As we leave here today, we do so with the thought that we may meet again as a Convention, or perhaps we may not meet again. It is not for you or for me to be dictatorial. The Bible indicates that the Gentile Times have ended. Their kings have had their day.
The above was taken from a discourse that Russell gave in Oakland in June of 1915. It shows that in June of 1915 he was still holding to the belief that the Gentile Times had already ended. It also shows that he had not set forth any date for the time of trouble to end.
Watch Tower September 1, 1915, page 286:
Many Bible students are thoroughly convinced that the 2520 years from Zedekiah's day to October, 1914, ended there--that that date marked the end of God's lease of world power to the Gentile nations.
In September of 1915 Russell was still pointing to the 1914 as the end of the Gentiles; he did not mention any expectation that they were to end a month later.
Watch Tower January 1, 1916, page 4
We have seen, too, that when Elijah's time for translation came, he was sent from Gilgal to Bethel, from Bethel to Jericho and from Jericho to Jordan; and that these different points were measurably disappointing; yet that Elijah and Elisha were not discouraged, but went on--Jordan representing the end of the Times of the Gentiles, 1915.
Here Russell does refer to the end of the Time of the Gentiles as being 1915. Does this mean that he had changed his view, and that he was saying that the Gentile Times had not ended in 1914? No, because his usage of 1915 is the same as found in the very first editions of his STUDIES, as referring to the Jewish year correspond to 1915 as beginning in October of 1914. See the first edition of The Time Is At Hand (1889) page 232, where he spoke of A.D. 1915 as "the closing of the Gentile Times." The chronology that Russell used was "whole years" or "full years" running from October to October, thus the end of 1914 A.D. in October would be the beginning of 1915 A.D. Indeed, he often referred to the Gentile Times as ending in 1915 as meaning the beginning of the Jewish year in October of 1914.
Watch Tower February 1, 1916, page 38.
Did the Times of the Gentiles end by October 1st, 1914? It certainly looks very much as if they did.
Russell, in February 1916, was still holding to the belief that the Gentile Times had ended in October of 1914. He had not changed 1914 to 1915.
Watch Tower September 1, 1916, page 264.
It still seems clear to us that the prophetic period known as the Times of the Gentiles ended chronologically in October, 1914.
In September of 1916, just before his death, he was still holding to the belief that the Gentile Times had ended in 1914. He still had not changed it to 1915.
One has stated that "Russell I believe was expecting the end of the Gentile times, maybe even Armagedden. He got WWI instead. He died two yrs later. Of course he did update the dates in his books in 1916, up one year."
Our Response:
Yes, Russell was expecting end of the Gentile Times in 1914; he was also expecting Armageddon to begin in 1914, and he was also expecting warfare to begin in 1914. Although Russell was wrong in much of the details, we do believe he was correct in that the Gentile Times did end in 1914; we believe he was correct in that warfare did break out in 1914; we believe he was correct in that the beginning Armageddon came in 1914, and we believe we have been in the Armageddon struggle ever since 1914.
One has to realize, however, that Russell’s view of Armageddon is not at all the same as what the JWs preach Armageddon to be. Russell was not expecting that in 1914 all unbelievers would be eternally destroyed, as some of the Watchtower statements have led many to believe. Russell believed that Armageddon, as paralled with the "time of trouble" is a period of time for the chastisement of the people of the nations, ending in the climatic battle of Armageddon; Russell did not believe that Armageddon would result in the eternal destruction of unbelievers.
Did Russell update his books one year in 1916? No, as we have seen, in 1916, Russell was still holding to the belief that the Gentile Times ended in 1914. Russell did in 1916, change the author’s forewards in the Studies in the Scriptures; Russell did not, however, in those forewards change 1914 to 1915. As those forewards show, Russell died in 1916 still with the belief that the Gentile Times had ended in 1914; he died in 1916, still with the belief that the time of trouble had begun in 1914 — not 1915. No, Russell never changed 1914 to one year later.
See the research concerning:
Russell and 1915
See various:
1916 forewards in the Scripture Studies
One has stated: "As William Miller found out, there are problems when you start date setting in regard to prophesy."
Yes, there are problems that will come, since God is not speaking through anyone on earth today as a prophet. All that one can do imperfectly study the prophecies of the Bible and try -- most often imperfectly -- to reach conclusins pertaining to the Biblical prophecies.
Many, however, due to past failures, have, in effect, concluded that one should not study the time prophecies of the Bible. Many would seem to like to throw out the time prophecies in the Bible and disregard them. Many of these, however, do not apply such to the seventy weeks of Daniel 9, so that, while condemning date setting, themselves do set dates regarding the seventy weeks, especially as related to Christ's first appearing, evidently without any thought that they are themselves “date setting”. I do not believe, however, that one should disregard any of the time prophecies of the Bible.
Originally published sometime before March 18, 2012; Updated and republished: October 26, 2014.

2 comments:

  1. The following comment was made on the old site:

    1914 came into prominence after I studied with the Witnesses back in the seventies. When I researched this date I discovered that the society simply kept the date, but changed the meaning of it. Russell I believe was expecting the end of the Gentile times, maybe even Armagedden. He got WWI instead. He died two yrs later. Of course he did update the dates in his books in 1916, up one year. As William Miller found out, there are problems when you start date setting in regard to prophesy. There are still those in the church who have not learned those lessons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Russell was expecting end of the Gentile Times in 1914; he was also expecting Armageddon to begin in 1914, and he was also expecting warfare to begin in 1914. Although Russell was wrong in much of the details, I do believe he was correct in that the Gentile Times did end in 1914; I believe he was correct in that warfare did break out in 1914; I believe he was correct in that the beginning of Armageddon (the time of trouble) came in 1914, and I believe we have been in the time of trouble ever since 1914. One has to realize, however, that Russell’s view of Armageddon was not at all the same as what the JWs preach Armageddon to be. I believe Russell did also see warfare in 1914 in a scale not ever seen before in World War I.

      Russell was not expecting that in 1914 all unbelievers would be eternally destroyed, as some of the Watchtower statements have led many to believe. Russell believed that Armageddon is a period of time for the chastisement of the people of the nations, not the time for them to be eternally destroyed.

      Russell did not, however, update his books in 1916 up one year. Russell did in 1916, change the author’s forewards in the Studies in the Scriptures; Russell did not, however, in those forewards change 1914 to 1915. As those forewards show, Russell died in 1916 still with the belief that the Gentile Times had ended in 1914; he died in 1916, still with the belief that the time of trouble had begun in 1914 — not 1915. No, Russell never changed 1914 to one year later.
      See the research concerning the alleged change to 1915:
      https://rlctr.blogspot.com/search/label/1915

      See various 1916 forewards in the Scripture Studies at:
      http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/volumes/index.asp

      Many would seem to like to throw out the time prophecies in the Bible and disregard them. Many of these, however, do not apply such to the seventy weeks of Daniel 9, so that, while condemning date setting, themselves do set dates regarding the seventy weeks, evidently without any thought that they are themselves “date setting”. I do not believe, however, that one should disregard any of the time prophecies of the Bible.

      Delete