Friday, June 10, 2022

Was Russell the Author of "The Finished Mystery"?

If one looks on Amazon or elsewhere online for the book, The Finished Mystery, most often it will be advertised with Charles Taze Russell listed as the author. Even "Project Gutenberg"  and Goodreads present Charles Taze Russell as the author of his book. Often we may find quotes from the book as having been said by Russell. 

When the book was released, it was advertised as being the posthumous work of Charles Taze Russell. But was it actually written by Russell?

The book, The Finished Mystery, was actually not a book by Charles Taze Russell. Rutherford falsely claimed that it was the work of Russell. It was actually written by two of Rutherford’s associates, Clayton Woodworth and George Fisher, under the supervision of Rutherford. Although it did contain many quotes from Russell, it also contained many fanciful claims that were not from Russell. Although advertised as being authored by Russell, in the Publisher's Preface we find this statement: "It seemed pleasing to the Lord that Brothers C. J. Woodworth and George H. Fisher should prepare the Seventh Volume, under the direction of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY."

Many Bible Students immediately rejected that book in 1917; eventually, the vast majority of the Bible Students around the world rejected that book. These Bible Students did not develop into Jehovah's Witnesses. Rutherford actually created the Jehovah's Witnesses by rejecting the core teachings of Russell and the Bible Students, which led to Rutherford's adopting the name "Jehovah's Witnesses."

"Pastor Russell was…strong, humble, wise, loving, gentle, just, merciful, faithful, self-sacrificing… As a logician and theologian he is doubtless without a peer today. In his research for Biblical Truth and harmony he is without a parallel in this age. Without a blemish in his character…he towers like a giant unmatched." (The Finished Mystery, p. 125)

The authors of this book highly praised Russell. Russell was not perfect, and he made mistakes and errors. Overall, he was indeed strong, humble, wise, loving, gentle, just, merciful, faithful, self-sacrificing. As a defender of the faith once delivered to the saints, we do believe he was without parallel in his day. We do not believe, however, that he had no blemish at all in his character. We do not believe Russell would have ever made such a claim.

Nevertheless, the exaltation of Russell to such a degree appears to have the purpose of promoting Russell as having special authority given by God. Authority was being attributed to Russell that Russell himself consistently denied for himself or for the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Then, it was claimed that Russell was still directing the work from beyond veil. This indirectly gave to Rutherford and his associates the authority being attributed to Russell. Of course, if Russell had been directing the work from beyond the vail, it would mean that Russell had directed what was written in the book, The Finished Mystery. 

For links to some of my research that verifies much of the above:

Russell and Jehovah's Witnesses
Russell, Organization and Authority

Russell, of course, in reality, had no control over what Rutherford and his associates did or said after Russell died. Rutherford deceitfully had new by-laws passed that virtually destroyed the Watch Tower Society as Russell intended for it to be. When the majority of the Board of Directors of the Society began to realize what course Rutherford was taking, he had that majority of the Board removed by means of a legal technicality.

See:
Bible Student History (Special issue of The Herald of Christ's Kingdom)



Saturday, April 9, 2022

Russell and Reason

(This post needs to be updated and completed)

In his book, Kingdom of the Cults, Walter Martin makes some false claims concerning Charles Taze Russell. These claims may be found on pages 83 and 84 under the subtopic, "Jehovah's Witnesses vs. the Scriptures, Reason, and the Trinity." Charles Taze Russell, however, was never a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. While I am not with the JWs, as a Bible Student, I do have concern over such statements regarding a fellow student of the Bible.

Martin makes that claim that the Watchtower's criterion for measuring the credibility of any Biblical doctrine is "reason". He specifically misrepresents Charles Taze Russell (who was never a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses). Martin takes what Brother Russell stated in his study, "The Bible as a Divine Revelation Viewed in the Light of Reason", and distorts it to an application I am sure that Brother Russell never intended. Martin falsely claims:

Here is it is plain to see that for Russell, man's understanding of God's character lies not in God's revelation of himself to be taken by faith, but in our ability to reason out that character subject to the laws of our reasoning processes. Russell obviously never considered Jehovah's Word as recorded in the fifty-fifth chapter of Isaiah the prophet, which discourse clearly negates man's powers of reasoning in relation to the divine character and nature of his Creator.

If Martin actually examined Brother Russell's writings, he would known that what he stated is not true. Martin drew a false conclusion based on taking a quote out of context while disregarding what Russell had stated elsewhere. Indeed, Martin totally disregards Russell's defense of the Bible, which was the whole purpose of the study. Martin's motive was evidently to make it appear that the reason that Brother Russell rejected the trinity is because he could not reason out that doctrine. Indeed, Brother Russell stated in that study:

Since the light of nature leads us to expect a fuller revelation of God than that which nature supplies, the reasonable, thinking mind will be prepared to examine the claims of anything purporting to be a divine revelation, which bears a reasonable surface evidence of the truthfulness of such claims. The Bible claims to be such a revelation from God, and it does come to us with sufficient surface evidence as to the probable correctness of its claims, and gives us a reasonable hope that closer investigation will disclose more complete and positive evidence that it is indeed the Word of God.

The truth is that Brother Russell considered the Bible as the basis for all doctrine. He did not consider reason to be the basis, although he did believe one should use reason in study of the Bible. As to Brother Russell's real claims concerning the basis of doctrine, see my research concerning:
Russell and the Bible

Did Brother Russell ever consider Isaiah 55:8,9, as Martin claims. The actual evidence shows that Martin misrepresented Russell in this matter...... (More may be added later) -- Ronald R. Day, Sr.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Russell's Alleged "Pyramid Scheme"

By Ronald R. Day, Sr.

I have been given the following link to examine. The thought evidently is that  this is supposed to "expose" something bad of Russell regarding the Great Pyramid:
https://eacanada.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/charles-taze-russells-great-pyramid-scheme/

The author evidently actually believes what he is written to be true, but in actuality, many incorrect statements are given.

The author makes the mistake many often make of saying that Charles Taze Russell was the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Anyone who is truly familiar with the works of Russell would know that he never advocated such an organization. He actually preached against such an organization, and he also preached against the kind of message that the Jehovah's Witnesses present. He was definitely not the founder of that in which he did not believe, and which he preached against. For more with documentation related to Russell and the Jehovah's Witnesses:
https://rlctr.blogspot.com/p/jws.html

Russell's book, Thy Kingdom Come, as well all his other works, were never designed for an organization such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. Any claims made by the leadership of that organization to the effect that Thy Kingdom Come is a book published by their organization is actually false. As far as Russell was concerned, there was no such organization associated with the Watch Tower Society of Russell's day, nor with the International Bible Students of Russell's day. For more information with documentation related to Russell, Organization and Authority:
https://rlctr.blogspot.com/p/authority.html

It is claimed that Charles Taze Russell "was a great enthusiast when it came to the Egyptian pyramids." Actually, Russell had little interest in the "pyramids" (plural) of Egypt. He was definitely interested in anything pertaining to the Bible, and thus he was interested in the study of God's Witness in Egypt, since that Witness corroborates the Bible. This interest, however, pertained to only one of the pyramids of Egypt, that is, the one often referred to as the Great Pyramid. Indeed, the only interest we have found that Russell had in the Egyptian "pyramids" was that of showing the inferiority of the Egyptian pyramids with the one pyramid he believed to be God's Witness in Egypt.

It is stated that Russell "claimed to be able to see divine omens in them and wrote about them in his works." No reference is given as to where Brother Russell wrote about any pyramid in which he saw "divine omens." Nevertheless, we have not found any such claim ever made by Russell. 

Russell's study on God's Witness in Egypt may be found at:
https://www.htdbv8.com/Volume3/V3_10.htm

The article states that the Watchtower Society now views the Great Pyramid as "Satan's Bible." We can say that this was certainly true of Rutherford. Evidently, Rutherford, realizing that he could not make the measurements of the Great Pyramid fit with his new applications of the time prophecies, came up with the idea that the Great Pyramid was of Satan. What Rutherford actually presented, however, would have meant that Satan had knowledge of the Bible before it was written, including having knowledge of the year that Jesus was to die.

It is claimed that one of the strangest "revelations" that Brother Russell (allegedly) received from the Great Pyramid was that of the "end of the world." This is definitely false, since Russell never claimed to have obtained any revelation from the Great Pyramid pertaining to "the end of the world." This evidently has reference to Brother Russell's expectations related to 1914. Neither the date nor Russell's expectations concerning that date came as a result of any "revelation" from the Great Pyramid. The date, 1914, comes from study of Biblical prophecies, not from the Great Pyramid, although the measurements of the Great Pyramid certainly corroborate that date. Russell, however, plainly stated that he was not expecting the end of the world in 1914.

It is stated concerning this: "Unfortunately for C.T. Russell, the prophecy did not come true," As we have shown elsewhere, Russell was not expecting the end of the world in 1914, but, additionally, Russell was not a prophet, and he did not present his expectations as being divinely-inspired prophecies. 

Much ado is made concerning the change that was made regarding the inches of the floor of the lower descending passageway. This we have discussed at https://rlctr.blogspot.com/2017/01/changes-gp.html and we will not repeat this here. We will, however, discuss some of the strange and false statements made regarding those changes.

It is stated that Brother Russell "gets the date for the Great Pyramid wrong. It was actually 2,560 B.C."

What Russell stated:
Prof. Smyth has concluded that the Great Pyramid was built in the year 2170 B.C., reaching this conclusion, first, from astronomical observations. Perceiving that the upward passage angles correspond to a telescope, and that the "Entrance Passage" corresponds to an astronomer's "pointer," he set about to investigate to what particular star it could have pointed at any time in the past. Calculations showed that a Draconis, the dragon-star, had occupied a position in the heavens which looked directly down the entrance, at midnight of the autumnal equinox, B.C. 2170. Then, considering himself as an astronomer at that date, with his pointer fixed upon a Draconis, and considering the ascending passages as though they were a telescope, which they much resemble, he calculated what constellation or what notable star would have been before his telescope thus fixed at the particular date indicated by his pointer, and found that it must have been the Pleiades. So wonderful a coincidence convinced him that the date of the Great Pyramid's building was thus indicated; for a Draconis is no less a symbol of sin and Satan than Pleiades is a symbol of God and the center of the universe. The Great Pyramid thus indicates that its Architect knew of the prevalence of evil and of its domination over the downward course of mankind, and indicates also what lies beyond all human sight—that the only hope for the race is in Jehovah.
This conclusion of Prof. Smyth's as to the date of the Great Pyramid's building, was most abundantly corroborated, later, by certain measurements by which the Great Pyramid indicates its own date of construction.

The entire study may be found at:
http://mostholyfaith.com/Beta/bible/volumes/C10.asp

Paul S. L. Johnson's updated version of Thy Kingdom Come may be found at:
https://www.biblestandard.com/uploads/2/1/4/9/21496142/sits3_-_thy_kingdom_come_[web].pdf 

A reference is given to a Wikipedia article on the Great Pyramid. That article does not give a specific date, but states: "The majority of recent chronological estimates date Khufu and his pyramid roughly between 2700 and 2500 BC." This, of course, ignores completely Biblical chronology and is also based on the generally-accepted theory that the pyramid was constructed by Khufu. Nevertheless, the time given in the Wikipedia article is somebody's estimate, which could or could not be correct. Nevertheless, when the Great Pyramid was constructed is not all that important. It really does not matter when it was made or completed.

What Russell presented regarding his study of the Great Pyramid, I believe, is basically correct, although I believe he did make an error on the measurement of the lower part of the descending passageway. Nevertheless, the evidence that the Great Pyramid is indeed God's Witness is too great for me to ignore. For studies related to the Great Pyramid, see my site: God's Witness in Egypt and its resource page: "Links to Various Sites"

The author of the article asks: "And what does the bible say about all of this?" And then quotes Deuteronomy 18:20-22, without any explanation as to how these verses have any application to Rusell's Biblical study of God's Witness in Eygpt. I will present this from the American Standard Version:

Deuteronomy 18:20 - But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. 
Deuteronomy 18:21 - And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? 
Deuteronomy 18:22 - when a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him. 

However, nothing is given to connect Deuteronomy 18:20-22 to the comments made in the article, or that shows how these verses are thought to apply to Russell's study of God's Witness in Egypt. Russell, himself, certainly never claimed to be a prophet as described in these verses. In fact, he consistently disclaimed being a prophet, and he consistently disclaimed that his conclusions were divinely-inspired prophecies. He only claimed to be a student of Bible prophecy, and he never claimed that his applications were without error.  For links to our research related to this, see the resource page on "Was Charles Taze Russell a Prophet? A False Prophet?"

The article I am responding to offers no explanation regarding what is to be considered Russell's pyramid "scheme." The word "scheme" itself is not a bad word. Its basic meaning is "a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining a particular object or putting a particular idea into effect." Russell, of course, did believe that God's divine plan, or scheme, for man as revealed in the Bible is demonstrated in the Great Pyramid. The actual evidence does indicate that this is true. Nevertheless, this "scheme" is not Russell's scheme, but rather it is God's scheme for mankind.

More than likely, however, the word "scheme" is being used to mean, "a secret or underhanded plan; a plot." The meaning is usually applied to some who deceptively seek to persuade or influence others to do or believe something that is not true. The article on the website fails to present Brother Russell as having any such scheme. The article, however, does, in effect, display either ignorance of what Russell's study of God's Witness in Egypt is actually about, or else willfully seeks to deceive people concerning his study of God's Witness in Egypt. I believe, however, that more than likely the author of that article actually has been deceived to think that Russell was indeed deceptively trying to influence others to believe something that is not true.







Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Organized Religion a "Snare and a Racket"


By Ronald R. Day, Sr.
This needs to updated; some links may not work.

It is being asserted that Russell stated that "religion is a snare and a racket". I cannot say who originated this claim, but it appears on many several sites and and I have seen this stated in at least one discussion group/forum. Here are a few sites that attribute this to Brother Russell:


So far I have not found anyone who quotes (misquotes?) Russell as having said this that provides any proof that he did say this. We have made several digital searches of Brother Russell's works. So far we have not been able to find any place that Russell ever made such a statement, and actually, anyone familiar with Russell's works would know that such a statement would not be in harmony with what Russell believed. An online search of his work for the word "racket" does not reveal any such statement made by Russell. More than likely Russell is being confused with Joseph Rutherford, who had his followers carry signs proclaiming that "religion is a snare and a racket." Russell, however, did believe in one religion: Christianity. He did not believe in setting up a new religion, sect, denomination, etc.

Russell, however, may have agreed that false religion is a snare and racket, although, as best as we can determine, he never said such.  Brother Russell, however, also spoke of "true religion". It would appear to be out of his character to say that all and any religion is a snare and a racket. Brother Russell, however, did not view the Bible Students as a "religion." He, himself, does not appear to use the word "religion" to any great extent.

Brother Russell did say:

the Kingdom of God's dear Son is to be one of "power and great glory;" that before it, in a time of trouble, every other religion and influence will crumble to dust; that Satan shall be bound, and for a thousand years the most blessed influence favorable to righteousness will be brought to bear upon mankind.

Obviously, those who make such a claim indeed fail to distinguish Brother Russell from Joseph Rutherford. Russell was never a member of, and did not believe in, the "Jehovah's Witnesses" organization. After Russell died, Rutherford -- not Russell -- made the claim that "Religion is a snare and a racket." Brother Russell never claimed such, and, of course, he had no control over what anyone did after he died. The picture above is not a picture of the Bible Students, but rather of the followers of Joseph Rutherford, who took the name "Jehovah's Witnesses."

Some places where Russell discusses "religion":

Obedience to God the Best Education



Did Brother Russell Deny "Eternal Punishment"?

By Ronald R. Day 

It is often claimed that Brother Russell denied the Biblical "doctrine" of eternal punishment. Walter Martin, in his book, "Kingdom of the Cults," (2003 Edition, page 49) claims: "At an early age, he rejected the doctrine of eternal punishment." 

This idea has been repeated over and over. 

On the Oxford Reference site, it is stated concerning Russell: "He came to reject the doctrine of eternal punishment."  

On a Baptist site, we find the statement that in 1870 "Russell forms –Started a Bible Class in Pittsburgh to reject doctrine of eternal punishment." 

On the "Sound Doctrine" site, it is claimed: "The evidence seems to suggest that Russell received from the Adventist his light on the non-existence of eternal punishment." 

We could produce many more similar claims made by authors. 

What did Brother Russell himself say about this? Actually, Brother Russell nowhere denied the Biblical teaching of eternal or everlasting punishment. He did deny that this punishment meant that anyone would be consciously suffering for eternity.

The phrase "eternal punishment" or "everlasting punishment" appears only once in the Bible, and that is in the parable of sheep and goats. (Matthew 25:46) Regarding this Brother Russell stated:

The everlasting punishment, be it remembered, will be administered; but this does not signify everlasting torments, because the punishment for sin is not torment, but death -- everlasting death will therefore be the punishment of the goat class with Satan the great adversary. From this death there will be no redemption, no resurrection, no recovery of any kind. As St. Peter declares, "They shall be like brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed." The everlasting fire is as symbolical, as parabolic, as the sheep and the goats. Fire is a symbol of destruction, and everlasting fire a symbol of everlasting destruction. An everlasting fire is one not quenched, one which burns until it shall have accomplished its purpose of complete destruction. -- "The Judgment Scene Before the Great White Throne," What Pastor Russell Wrote For the Overland Monthly, page 42.

As one should be able to see, he did not deny that there is eternal/everlasting punishment. He did deny that this meant "everlasting torments." Nevertheless, in the minds of many "eternal punishment" is thought to mean "eternal torment." Many have claimed that it means literal torment in literal flames of fires worse than any fire that is found on earth, and that torment is to continue without letup for all eternity. The Bible, however, describes no such idea. Indeed, God's name is denigrated by such teachings. 

In his study, Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Russell stated:

While the Scriptures, as we have shown, do not teach the blasphemous doctrine of everlasting torment, they do most emphatically teach the everlasting punishment of the wicked, the class represented in the parable as "goats." -- Watch Tower, March 1, 1900, page 101.

We could provide many more quotes, but these two demonstrate that Brother Russell was not denying the Biblical eternal/everlasting punishment, but he did not attribute that phrase to mean eternal torment.

Some of our studies related to the above:

Revelation 20:4-15 – Judgment and Lake of Fire

Mankind's Course to the Day of Judgment