Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Alleged Failure of 1914 and Misrepresented Historical Claim

We are quoting the following from a website:
In 1876, Russell wrote an article that appeared in the October, 1876 issue of the Bible Examiner under the title, “Gentile Times: When do they End?” On page 27 he was writing about Luke 21:24...
We have reproduced the entire article under consideration and it may be seen at:
We wish to say to begin with that the article represents Russell's view before 1904; in 1904, he came to realize that the "time of trouble" was to begin in 1914, not end in 1914. See our research on this at:
The author of the site continues:
He said that the “Seven Times” will end in AD 1914. However, the anticipated Kingdom of Jehovah did not come. Big surprise! None, zero, zip, nada of the events concerning Jerusalem, mentioned in Luke 21:24 occurred in the predicted year, 1914. The Society then concluded that 1914 was not the end of the “Seven Times” but was to be a turning point in human history. Two years later, Russell died. (Maybe the dejection and depression that God was actually not using him took its toll.)
There are several misrepresentations being presented here. Although Russell was expecting God's kingdom to be established in 1914, he was not expecting that it would all of a sudden bring peace to the earth in 1914, rather just the opposite: from 1904 onward, he was expecting that with the influence of God's kingdom the world would enter into the worst time of trouble and warfare that it had ever seen, the nations would become angry. Thus, it is absolutely not true that nothing happened in 1914, and the fact that the greatest war the world had ever seen began in that year does give reason to believe that the spasms of the time of trouble did begin that year.
The quote from the site, after declaring that nothing happened in 1914, then states: "The Society then concluded that 1914 was not the end of the 'Seven Times' but was to be a turning point in human history." This is totally false! The Society in 1914 certainly never concluded that 1914 was not the end of the Gentiles, and as far as we know, it has never concluded such! Russell certainly never made any statement that the Gentile Times had not ended in 1914, and he made many statements to the effect that they had ended up to the day that he died. We have no doubt that Russell died rejoicing that he was seeing the Bible prophecies come true.
That Brother Russell had not concluded that the "seven times" had not ended can be seen from the following quotes from the The Watch Tower, all made after October 1914.
Because certain important things are to be accomplished, we see that God is permitting what to others might seem to be purely human devilishness. 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. We are expecting to see multiplied proofs of the Kingdom power, though the world will not recognize it as such until it is manifested in the flaming fire of Anarchy, which is still further along. The present step is the war of the nations. The next step will be Socialism--an attempted Socialism--among the people. Then the third step, Anarchy, will gradually come on. When this symbolic fire shall prevail, then the world will realize what we are trying to tell them now; namely, that God's Kingdom is taking control, and that these various demonstrations are evidences that our Lord is taking His great power. But the many will not begin to see until the flaming fire is revealed. When we endeavor to tell them now they will not receive it, but they will be thoroughly convinced when they see the destructive fire of Anarchy. The Watch Tower, February 15, 1915.
 The Bible indicates that the Gentile Times have ended. Their kings have had their day. They have made a good showing, in many respects. Many of these governments have done wonderfully. The Watch Tower, July 15, 1915. 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. The Watch Tower, Aprit 15, 1916
It still seems clear to us that the prophetic period known as the Times of the Gentiles ended chronologically in October, 1914. The fact that the Great Day of Wrath upon the nations began there marks a good fulfillment of our expectations. The Watch Tower, September 1, 1916
We only chose those quotes that are most precise; more quotes could have been given. These, however, are sufficient to show that Brother Russell did not then, in 1914 (or any other time after 1876), conclude that the "seven times" had not ended in 1914.

This was originally posted April, 2009; edited and republished, October, 2014, 2017.

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