Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Watchtower Symbols Similar to Freemasons

A video has been posted, which, although directed towards the Jehovah's Witnesses, contains may insinuations concerning Charles Taze Russell. I give my responses below to that video: I will first state that I am not with the JWs, nor do I support that organization. Being a Bible Student, however, I do have an interest in how Brother Russell is depicted, and I am thus presenting my own responses to statments and scenes presented in the video.

The picture displayed is NOT actually Charles Taze Russell's "pyramid", but rather it is the drawing of J. A. Bohnet which he presented to Joseph Rutherford a few years after Russell died. It was claimed that Brother Russell had authorized the construction of this pyramid in the lots owned by the Watch Tower Society in the United Rosemont Cemetery. However, in all the writings of Brother Russell, I have found no such authorization, nor has any such authorization by Russell ever been produced.

At any rate, the pyramid that was constructed in the Rosemont Cemetery is actually that of Joseph Rutherford, since he is the one who authorized that it be built. The pyramid monument is a replica of the God's witness in Egypt, generally referred to as the "Great Pyramid", and was built to honor that "witness" in Egypt. Spaces were left for many names to be inscribed on that monument; few were inscribed, however, since a very few years later Rutherford rejected the Great Pyramid as being God's witness in Egypt.

Nevertheless, the fact that the Knights Templar used any "symbols" similar to that which Russell used does not mean that Russell used such symbolism to represent anything related to the Knights Templar or the Masons. Brother Russell used symbolism to represent many various scriptural truths, not to give support to the Knight Templar or the Freemasons. The Knights Templar claim to be Christian, and thus much of their symbolism also reflects Biblical symbolism.

Some years ago, I went into a Christian book store, and saw that they were selling a cross and crown pin very similar to that used by Brother Russell and the Bible Students. Various cross and crown symbolism has been used by almost all the major denominations of Christendom. Brother Russell's usage of a cross and crown is based on the Bible, not the Freemasons. I do not know of any time that Brother Russell used the "exact same symbol" as shown of a Knights Templar pin (1:25).

Again, Brother Russell used a similar "lamp" (1:42) to represent the lamp of Psalm 119:105. His symbol, although similar, was not exactly the same as that of the Knights Templar. Brother Russell's usage of such a symbol is based on the Bible, not the Freemasons.

Likewise, Russell's Watch Tower symbolism is based on the Bible, not the Freemasons, and his usage of the "armor of God" symbolism is based on the Bible, not the Freemasons or anyone else who may have used any similar illustration.

While I am not with the JWs (nor was Charles Taze Russell), in all fairness, to my understanding, the JWs purchased the Stanley Theatre which already had the symbolism in it before they purchased it. Of course, symbolism can mean different things to different people; such symbolism, of itself, is not necessarily "pagan"; otherwise one would have to claim the Bible itself is "pagan", nor does usage of any symbol, of itself, represent "idol worship".

It would be silly to think that any and every floor that is checkered in design must be a "Masonic symbol."

Since the symbolism of Jehovah's eye is used in the Bible, then if one is to find fault with the usage of such, and if one is consistent, one should fault the Bible for using such symbolism. -- Psalm 33:18; see also Deuteronomy 11:12; 2 Chronicles 7:16; 16:9; Psalms 11:4; 32:8; 34:15; 94:9; Proverbs 5:21; 15:3; 22:12; Ezekiel 7:4,9; Amos 9:8; Zechariah 2:8.

There is nothing at all wrong with Jehovah's "witness" in Egypt (Isaiah 19:19,20), known generally as the "Great Pyramid", nor is there anything wrong of providing an illustration of the pyramid passages and one's beliefs concerning what they symbolize, in agreement with the Bible.

A picture is presented of Paul preaching to the Athenians (9:13) and the focus is placed on an "owl" in that picture. I do not know who drew the picture, but Brother Russell stated that the pictures came from many different sources. Nevertheless, the picture of an "owl" is not out of place in Athens, as this was a common symbol used especially throughout the city of Athens to represent the goddess Athena. Whoever drew the picture probably had this in mind, as related to the worship of many idol gods. -- Acts 17:16,22,23.

Most of the above I have discussed in more detail with documentation on my website:
http://ctr-rlbible.com/

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Discussing Charles Taze Russell (Response to Video)

This is in response to a video on youtube and which also appears some other places entitled: "Studies With Jehovah's Witness Discussing Charles Russell, Rutherford, and the Governing Body."

I am not with the JWs, but much that is presented in the video about Russell is based totally on imagination and assumptions (presented as fact), twisting of facts to make them appear other than the reality, or are simply false statements.

Here are few:

1) Brother Russell was never a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization, and he certainly was not the founder of an organization in which he did not believe, and which practices the very kind of authoritarianism that he preached against.
See:
Charles Taze Russell and the Jehovah's Witnesses

2) There is no "Knights Templar" symbol at all on the cover of Russell's Watch Tower. It is being imagined, assumed and presented as fact that any such usage of a cross and crown (although Biblical) MUST be "Masonic", when, in fact, the cross and crown has been used for many centuries by most of the major Christian denominations.
See:
Russell's Cross and Crown Symbolism - Masonic? Rosicrucian?

3) Russell was most definitely never a member of the Freemasons or any other of man's secret societies. The tens of thousands of pages that we have of Russell's works overwhelmingly testify that he was not in support of any of man's secret societies.
See:
Russell and the Freemasons

4) Rutherford's pyramid monument is not Russell's gravestone. Russell is not buried there, nor is that monument of God's Witness in Egypt designed with any Masonic purposes in mind.
See:
Russell's Grave
See also:
Charles Taze Russell and the Great Pyramid

5) The Ross court record does not at all prove Ross' claims to be true;  Russell lost the case because of some twist that demanded that Ross' accusations would have to be seen as inciting a riot, which, of course, was not the case. Ross actually distorted the court records to make Russell appear to have said something that he did not say.
See:
The Claims of J. J. Ross

6) Russell disclaimed being a prophet, and disclaimed that his conclusions were inerrant, or without error. He never gave any prophecies, but simply stated his conclusions concerning Bible prophecies. Russell never claimed that anyone had to accept his conclusions in order to be a Christian, and he certainly never advocated disfellowshiping anyone because they did not agree with his conclusions.
See:
Charles Taze Russell and Bible Prophecy

7) It is false that Russell claimed that the end of the world would come in 1914. Russell was not expecting such, and plainly stated that he was not expecting such. Especially from 1904 onward, Russell was expecting that the time of trouble was to begin in 1914.
See:
Russell and the End of the World

8) It is completely and totally false that Russell changed 1914 to 1925; Russell, at least twice, rejected that the date 1925 held any prophetic significance. He never promoted the year 1925 at all as having any prophetic significance. Russell died in 1916, still holding to the belief that the time of trouble had begun in 1914.
See:
Dates and False Statements Concerning Charles Taze Russell

9) The date 1914 is based on several lines of Bible prophecies. Nelson Barbour came up with the date from study of those prophecies; God's witness in Egypt simply corroborates that date.

10) Charles Taze Russell did believe in the divinity of Jesus, but he did not believe that Jesus' divinity was any reason to add to the scriptures that Jesus is God the Son.
See:
Russell and the Deity of Christ

11) Russell, of course, never said anything to the effect that one had to pronounce and use the English form "Jehovah". There is nothing, however, in the Bible that tells us that we must pronounce God's Holy Name as it was originally pronounced in Hebrew, and certainly nothing in the Bible that says that because we do not know how it was pronounced in ancient Hebrew, that one should change that name to, and mispronounce that name as, "the Lord" or "God", etc. The theory that the Masoretes combined JOD HE VAH HE with the vowels from the Masoretic word "Adonai" to form what is evidently being presented as "Yahowah /  Jehovah" is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, if "Jehovah" is a man-made invention, so are the English forms: Yahweh, Jesus, Joshua, Jacob, Elijah, Elias, and practically every name in the Bible that has been given some form and pronunciation in English.
See:
God's Holy Name

12) There is nothing in Romans 10:9-13 that identities Jesus as Jehovah.
See:
Whoever Will Call On the Name of Yahweh

13) Westcott & Hort did not belong to any of man's secret societies that I know of. They were definitely not involved in any practices of the occult. Nevertheless, God can make use of anyone for any purpose he wishes, without supporting any of the practices of those whom he may use.
Westcott and Hort – Were They Spiritualists?

14) Charles Taze Russell actually preached against similar fear tactics that are now used by the Jehovah's Witnesses. Charles Taze Russell's message of good news of great joy that will be for all the people is almost the very opposite of the bad tidings of great woe that will be for most of the people (of eternal destruction in Armageddon) that is promulgated by the JW leadership.
See:
Charles Taze Russell and Armageddon

Friday, May 9, 2014

Russell, the JWs and the Great Pyramid - Video Reply

I am presenting here a series of short replies to a video entitled, "Jehovah's Witness Founder CT Russell's Pyramid". Evidenlty, the person presenting the video has been thoroughly deceived by the vast amount of misrepresentations being made concerning Russell. It is not my desire, however, to personally attack anyone, but rather to address the ways that Russell is being misrepresented.

I am not associated with the Jehovah's Witnesses, but I have been studying the works of Russell and many other Bible Students for more than 50 years. So many today are misrepresenting what Russell taught and believed.

First, Charles Taze Russell was not a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization. Russell did not believe in such an organization, and he preached against similar authoritarian organizations of his time. Russell also preached against similar views of Armageddon that the JWs preach. It is therefore highly misleading to present Russell as the founder of that which he did not believe in, and which he preached against.
See my research related to:
Russell and the Jehovah's Witnesses organization:
Regarding:
Russell and Armageddon:

It is claimed that Russell "changed the date of the invisible return of Jesus several times." This is definitely NOT true. In 1876, Russell accepted Barbour's view that Russell had returned in 1874; Russell died in 1916 still holding to the view that Christ had returned in 1874. Before 1876, Russell did not have any view concerning any date related to Christ's return, although he had already become convinced that Christ would not return in the flesh, since Jesus sacrificed his flesh for life of the world. Russell never once, from 1876 to 1916, changed his view concerning the date of the invisible return of Jesus, thus it is false that Russell "changed the date of the invisible return of Jesus" even once, much less "several times".
See my research regarding:
Russell and 1874

Contrary to what is presented in the video, the scriptures contain an abundancy of testimony that Christ's return would be without observation by the world. -- Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:20,26-30; 1 Peter 3:18.

See my studies related to:
Christ's Return

Russell's studies:
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/volumes/index.asp#vol2
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/volumes/index.asp#vol3

Sad to say, the Watchtower of the JW organization has indeed misrepresented various details of what Russell believed and taught, including saying that the JWs (which did not even exist in Russell's time) had proclaimed for over 30 years before 1914 that Christ was to return in 1914. We know of no one, however, who before 1914, thought that Christ was to return in 1914. Russell never presented such an idea in any of this publications, including his Watch Tower magazine.
See my research related to Russell and 1914:
http://ctr.rlbible.com/?cat=5

Since Russell was not expecting any future return of Christ, however, Russell certainly was not making any "spectacular forecasts concerning the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the end of the world"; indeed, Russell was NOT expecting neither the return of Christ in 1914, nor was expecting "the end of the world" in 1914. Concerning the latter, Russell plainly stated that he was not expecting the end of the world in 1914.
See my research related to:
Russell and the End of the World

The "Chart of the Ages" presented as a "page of Russell's Pyramid Bible Teaching" does not directly deal with the testimony of the Bible concerning the Great Pyramid, but, like many other organizational charts, simply uses pyramids to show the development of God's Kingdom through various ages and dispensations. Russell, of course, did believe that the Great Pyramid is God's witness in Egypt, as do many thousands of Christians; since there is overwhelming evidence that this is true, there is nothing sinister or evil about such a belief.
This chart may be found on line at several sites owned by Bible Students; here is one:
http://www.nsbible.org/sits_v1/chart.htm
For Russell's explanation of this Chart of the Ages, see:
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/volumes/A12.asp

After 1878, Barbour began preaching doctrine that, in effect, denied the Biblical basis of the atonement. Russell finally allowed Barbour to go his own way, and, in 1879, Russell began publishing his own magazine, which was, at first, Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, later, The Watch Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence. Russell's main reason to start the publication of this magazine was to defend the atonement through Jesus; had Barbour not started presenting his new teachings, it is quite probable that Russell would never have started printing a separate magazine.

Russell was not interested in "selling" newspapers. Newspapers generally made their money, not just by selling newspapers, but mostly by paid advertisements, which was charged relative to the circulation. Russell's journal, however, carried no paid advertisements, and the subscription price was so low that I doubt that it even covered the costs related to publishing and distributing the magazine. Additonally, subscription to the magazine was free to any who could not afford the subscription price. Furthermore, tens of thousands of free papers were distributed. Much of this work was paid for out of Russell's original fortune, and/or by other business ventures that Russell used to create funds for the work of the Watch Tower Society. The insinuation that Russell was in some way getting rich by selling newspapers is preposterous.

Russell never claimed any "revelations", as such implies revelation directly from God, as through angels, visions, etc.; and to say that he was constantly changing his doctrine would be misleading. His main work was from 1876 to 1916 the defence of the atonement, that never changed, even if he did progress in understanding details that demanded some change in his views related to the atonement. Russell was not telling anyone that they had to accept his views or else that they were not a Christian, or that he would not associate with them, etc. Indeed, not all of his associates always agreed with him, especially as related to time prophecies and chronology.
See my research related to Russell and Prophet:
http://ctr.rlbible.com/?page_id=3000

As far as I know, Barbour also never claimed to have received any revelations, as through an angel, visions, etc.

The conerstone doctrine of Russell and the Bible Students is the the ransom for all. The JWs, although they make reference to such, actually by their doctrine have rejected this cornerstone doctrine of the Bible.
See my research regarding
Russell and the ransom sacrifice of Jesus
Also:
Ransom for All
Focus on the Atonement

Russell did not depart from Barbour because of any alleged forecasting of the return day of the Lord Jesus!! This is totally ridiculous! Barbour was not even expecting Christ to return in 1878, nor did Russell ever have any expectation of 1878 as being the return day of the Lord Jesus. Russell parted with Babour because of Barbour's rejection of the Biblical basis of the atonement.
See my research related to
Russell and 1878
Especially see:

Russell did not USE the measurements of the Great Pyramid to forecast anything pertaining to any date; he did demonstrate that the measurements of God's Witness in Egypt correspond to the chronology of the Bible and the prophetic dates of the Bible.
See my research regarding
Russell and the Great Pyramid

Although the date 1925 came up during the days of Russell, Russell did not believe that 1925 held any significance regarding Bible prophecy. (Please note that the book, The Finished Mystery, was not written by Russell.) In effect, Russell rejected 1925 as having any prophetic significance.
See Russell's own words
regarding 1925

Russell did speak of himself as a mouthpiece of God; he also claimed that all true Christians are mouthpieces for God.
See my research regarding:
Russell as a mouthpiece of God

Russell did not once present any alleged revelations from God beyond what is written; he did present what he stated to be his own surmisings and conclusions regarding his own study of the Bible prophecies; he did NOT claim these to be revelations from God, nor did he ever make these claims a test of whether one is a Christian or not.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, I believe, is God's Stone Witness in Egypt; it does not, of itself, reveal Christ's return in 1874, nor did Russell ever claim such an idea. Barbour and Russell had used several lines of Bible prophecy and prophectic parallels that reach the year 1874; this is therefore based, not upon the Great Pyramid, but upon the Bible itself.
See Russell's studies:
The Time Is At Hand
Thy Kingdom Come

From 1904 onward, Russell was NOT expecting the end of Gentile goverments in 1914; he was expecting the beginning of the time of trouble in 1914.
See my research on the
Beginning of the Time of Trouble - Quotes From Russell

The Great Pyramid is indeed refered to by many Christians as the Bible in Stone. I am not sure that this term originated from Russell or Barbour, since many Christians had already come to realize that the Great Pyramid is God's witness in Egypt long before Barbour accepted this. Russell did not "arbitrarly" insert the dates into the pyramid to prove any alleged revelations. Russell did show how the measurements of the GP corroborated the Bible chronology and time prophecies. However, there was one problem concerning the measurement of the lower passageway, since no one had actually measured the floor of that passageway due to the debris that had accumulated. The Edgars, however, later removed the debris and took some accurate measurements of the lower passageway.
See:
The works of the Edgars
See also my research regarding:
Russell and the Great Pyramid

No, Russell did not teach the Great Pyramid with dogmatism, but rather he spoke of it as his belief. He never once demanded that others had to accept his belief concerning the Great Pyramid to either be a Christian, or to have fellowship in the Bible Students movement, which movement did not have, and still does not have, any central authority on earth. Russell disclaimed that either he or the WTS had any central authority over the Bible Students.
See my research regarding
Russell and authority in the church

The video quickly presents a picture of Russell's gravestone, but turns attention to Rutherford's pyramid monument of God's witness in Egypt, evidently with the claim that this monument is Russell's gravestone as  "a pyramid bible." That pyramid, in fact, is not at all Russell's gravestone.

Rutherford, in creating his new "Jehovah's visible organization" dogma, wished to use the various Bible prophecies to allegedly support his organization dogma, and thus claimed the Great Pyramid was built by Satan. The manner in which he did this would, in effect, mean that Satan had knowledge of the Bible before it had been written. Nevertheless, rather than keep the scriptural evidence that Russell taught concerning chronology and time prophecies, Rutherford slowly disregarded the abudance of scriptural study of both Barbour and Russell pertaining to time prophecies, and replaced them with applications of prophecy that he concluded demonstrated the veracity of his "organization" dogma.
See my research regarding
Russell's grave

Rutherford further rejected the foundational Biblical teaching of the ransom for all and replaced it with a teaching that basically says that one has to join Rutherford's organization or else be eternally destroyed in his idea of Armageddon. Thus, again, the claim of the video is just the opposite of what really happened, for Russell preached against similar teaching concerning Armageddon of his day.

Russell constantly defended the only means of salvation as being through the Lord Jesus Christ; only if one is almost totally ignorant of what Russell taught and believed could one say that Russell, by constantly refusing to take any authority, was actually possessing "zeal for power and prestige", or that Russell attacked "the only person who can save a soul". Russell constantly pointed to Jesus as only means of being saved from sheol/hades. He rightly pointed out from the scriptures, however, that no one can be saved from the lake of fire, the second death. If the condemnation through Adam was to suffer conciously for eternity, then to pay the wages of sin, then Jesus would have to now be suffering for all eternity to pay such wages. Russell overall pointed out the truth from the Bible concerning hell and the wages of sin.
See my own studies regarding hell, the lake of fire, the rich man and lazarus, etc.

Presenting what scripture says is not attacking the Lord Jesus Christ, but rather it is actually upholding the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of the Most High, who gave himself as a man for as a ransom for all. No scripture, rightly translated, presents Jesus as uncreated, having existed for eternity past, etc., while the genitive partitive usage of Colossians 1:15 definitely presents Jesus as being a creature, the first of such.
See my studies related to
Jesus as being a creature:

My own beliefs regarding the beginning in Genesis 1:1 can be found at:
http://binfo.rlbible.com/?page_id=281
and:
http://jesus.rlbible.com/?page_id=5211

Russell, by divesting himself of his fortune, and devoting his whole life and time to preaching Jesus, was definitely not what he is being accused of being. Those who actually know Russell's works know that Russell did not sell out his Savior for a little silver and a little time in the limelight and the headlines, rather, he did just the opposite. Russell did not create a new Jesus, nor a new Gospel, but rather he upheld the Jesus presented by the apostles, and the Gospel presented by the apostles, which placed him in contrast with the "new Gospel" and "new Jesus" that began to to be proclaimed after the apostles died. Russell in no wise changed the way of salvation from what is stated in the Bible.