Thursday, November 10, 2016

Charles Taze Russell, Watch Tower Illustration and The Masons

He cried as a lion: Lord, I stand continually on the watch-tower in the day-time, and am set in my ward whole nights. -- Isaiah 21:8, World English
It is often claimed that the word "Watch Tower" and the illustration that Russell used on his magazine are of Masonic orgins. From this, many are futher imagining that this offers proof that Russell was a member of the Freemasons' organization, or that Russell was highly influenced by the Freemasons' organization.
As with other such witchhunt-type proofs, any connection with the Freemasons has to be imagined and assumed, since Russell was definitely never a member that organization. Evidently, what is being imagined and assumed is that the term Watch Tower itself is Masonic, and thus anyone who uses that term must be a Freemason, or be highly influenced by the Freemasons. This is the same witchhunt-type logic that is used concerning Russell's Biblical use of the cross and crown (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10) and the Christian armor (Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:11-13) illustrations. In other words, what is being offered as proof is not the illustrations that Russell used, by rather what is being imagined and assumed concerning those illustrations.
If, however, usage of the term "Watch Tower" is Masonic, then the Bible itself must be Masonic, since that is what Russell based his usage of the term upon, as can be seen from the scriptures that he presented on the cover of the Watch Tower. One of the scriptures used is Isaiah 21:11,12, which speaks of a watchman. The watchman, of course, would be in a watch tower (Isaiah 21:8), and would report of anything that would be of importance to whatever city he was to report to. So far we have not actually found any place wherein Brother Russell explained why he chose the name "Watch Tower" for his magazine, but, in application, Russell believed that the Bible should be guide for what would appear in his magazine, which bore the name "Watch Tower".
To this end, Russell presented in the pages of the Watch Tower the following (scriptural references have been expanded for search purposes):
THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.
Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.
This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated, -- Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Peter 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Peter 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to -- "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God, the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God" -- "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed." -- Ephesians 3:5-9,10.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; -- according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
At most, it appears that it was his belief that the Watch Tower magazine would be a sentinel to present truths to spiritual Zion as they are found and understood from the Bible itself.
Regardless, the idea that the word "Watch Tower" as Russell used is Masonic, or that the Biblical illustration of a Watch Tower is Masonic is linked only by use of the spirit of human imagination. As we have stated before we have tens of thousands of pages of Russell's works that abundantly attest that he was not a member of the Freemasons; no one has yet present any genuine evidence that Russell was a Mason, or that he was being highly influenced by the Masons.

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