Monday, October 24, 2016

Was Russell Financed by the B’nai B’rith?

By Ronald R. Day, Sr. - Restoration Light Bible Study Services
Links updated 2/27/2018

We have been asked to examine Fritz Springmeier's claims in his "The B’nai B’rith Finances Russell".

We will add that many make similar claims that Russell was financed by the Rothschilds, although as yet we have not found any presentation of how this is thought to be so. It may be that those who claim such do so out of the theory that the Rothschilds funded the B'nai B'rith, and thus that they funded Russell through that organization. 
Mr. Springmeier evidently claims to be a Christian, but he evidently does not believe in the Bible, for he seems to think that Russell was of some Illuminati bloodline, which would only have any meaning if Springmeier also believed that all who of such bloodlines cannot be covered by the redemptive work of Jesus.
At any rate, Mr. Springmeier presents the work of Edith Star Miller, although in her work she never really presents any thing factual at all that proves that Russell was funded by the B'nai B'rith.
We will, God willing, examine Edith Miller's imaginations at another time. Suffice it to say that her method of distortion is illustrated in the following sentence: "The Russellite teaching, drawing its own arbitrary conclusions and proclaiming them as final, professes to prove from Biblical sources that all Christian churches are evil and corrupt, that the time of the Gentiles ended in 1914, and that the Jews must henceforth reign supreme over the world." Anyone who knows what Russell did teach would know how this misrepresents what he taught; we will not go into that right now, however. Russell certainly never proposed that sinful Jews should reign supreme over the world since the Gentile Times ended in 1914.
If Russell Was Not a Mason, Why Are So Many Saying That He Was?
Mr. Springmeier states: "Frank Goldman, both a member of the Order (as B’nai B’rith is known) and a Mason, escorted Pastor Russell by car to the Hippodrome for Russell’s two hour talk." This is evidently pertaining to the Jewish convention that was held by Jews at the Hippodrome in New York in the year 1911. Russell was invited by the Jewish committee to speak at that Jewish assembly, and Russell accepted that invitation. It is possible, although I have not yet found any confirmation, that Frank Goldman, who would have been about 19 years old at that time, was sent by those in charge to escort Brother Russell to the Hippodrome. It means nothing at all as far as the idea Brother Russell was financed by the B'nai B'rith.
Springmeier claims: "Jewish financiers had by the way rented the Hippodrome for Russell." The Hippodrome was indeed paid for by Jews, because it was a Jewish assemblage. Russell was an outsider who was invited to speak to that Jewish assemblage. If Russell had gone to speak to a Baptist convention at the Hippodrome or anywhere else that a building had to be rented, the rental of that building would have been paid for by the Baptists; likewise with any other religious group that invited Russell to speak, those who invited him to speak would normally pay for the rental of place for the their meetings.
Earlier (in September, 1910) a Jewish mass meeting committee, composed of Jewish leaders, invited Pastor Russell to address a New York Hippodrome rally on the topic ‘Zionism in Prophecy.’ Upon his return from Europe in October (of 1910) he was given a great ovation at the Hippodrome by many thousands of Jews. His discourse on that occasion was published by Hebrew papers throughout America and Europe. The New York Hippodrome was the largest indoor playhouse in the world until it closed in 1928. It could seat 5,200 persons at one time. {22} The UNITED ISRAEL BULLETIN reports: ‘It was a unique event at the Hippodrome which was jammed to the doors. Pastor Russell started out by saying that prophecy is proving itself through the Jewish people by whom the blessing will extend itself to every nation, people, kindred and tongue in full accord with the Divine promise and oath made to Abraham more than thirty centuries ago.”{23}
Footnote 23: 26Harte, op. cit., p. 121.  (op. cit. refers back to "Harte, Bret, The Overland Monthly.. Reprint)
Springmeier presents the following:
Interestingly, the B’nai B’rith points out in their Los Angeles B’nai B’rith Messenger their close affinity. “The Jews themselves are Jehovah’s Witnesses. In due time, according to prophecy, Jerusalem will be the capital of the world and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and other ‘Ancient Worthies’ will be resurrected and form the nucleus of God’s Kingdom on earth. This was the understanding of Pastor Russell from his studies of the prophecies, and he so taught during his long ministry.”
The quote given is not given a date, but it appears to have been written sometime after Rutherford created his "theocratic" organization and he applied the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" to it (1931). Most Bible Students will readily see that the statement is misleading, to say the least. Russell never used the expression "Jehovah's Witnesses" at all, and thus he never spoke of the Jews as being "Jehovah's Witnesses", nor was Russell ever a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization. Russell preached against such an organization ruled over by imperfect men who claim to have sole authority to represent God.
Furthermore, Russell made no special application of either Isaiah 43:10 or Isaiah 43:12 to the Jews, or anyone else. Russell's applications of the surrounding verses in Isaiah 43 may seen by clicking on the verse numbers at:^Isaiah^43
(We do not necessarily agree with all conclusions that Russell presents)
Russell did teach that God will raise the "ancient worthies" in the "last day" and in that day they would be put in charge of the earthly phase of the Kingdom, under God's appointed King, Jesus.
For what Russell actually taught about the "ancient worthies" in the Kingdom, CLICK HERE
(We do not necessarily agree with all conclusions that Russell presents)

Do Jewish Expectations for Zionism Encompass What Russell Envisioned?

Springmeier claims that Zionism "encompasses" Russell's expectations of an a "universal Israel", with Jerusalem as it's world capital. Evidently, the words are meant to leave the impression that Russell believed the the Jews would, by means of their own power, take over the world and rule the world from Jerusalem. At least, from what Springmeier stated, that is what one would probably think that Russell taught if one did not know better. Actually, Zionism, as envisioned by the Jews themselves, does not include Jesus as their King. Russell's expectations, based on the Bible, is based on the idea that Israel will say: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of Yahweh." -- Psalm 118:26, World English; Matthew 23:29.
Russell stated:
National favor to the Jew ended at the time of our Lord's crucifixion, as he said to them five days before when he rode on the ass, "Your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall see me no more till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." [Matt. 23:38, 39]
As a nation Israel has been without divine favor since, but the time is not far distant when at the second coming of our Lord many of that people shall say indeed, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Jehovah," and shall receive him, as the Apostle Paul distinctly points out in Rom. 11:25-36.
The National Labor Tribune, May 7, 1905
Reprinted in Newspaper Sermons, page 184.
Russell was not in any way saying that the Jew was going rule the world without Christ, and certainly not in their sinful condition. He was saying that God was using Zionism to bring the Jews' attention to the prophecies of the Bible in preparation for the kingdom rule under Jesus. God's use of Zionism does not mean that God will bless any expectations of the Jews of bringing forth a world government without the King, Jesus.
Russell stated:
Those who view the matter through the prophetic telescope foresee the time when "the Law shall go forth from Mt. Zion (spiritual Israel on the heavenly plane) and the Word from Jerusalem, the To-Be Capital of the world under the Millennial Kingdom arrangements. Thither all the nations of earth will send their ambassadors and from thence take their laws. Upon such as will conform to these arrangements the Divine blessing will rest, uplifting them gradually from sin, ignorance and superstition to mental, moral and physical perfection. Thus, according to the Scriptures the whole earth will gradually become the Garden of the Lord--Paradise. And those times or years of restitution will bring the willing and obedient of mankind back again to the full perfection of being, mental, moral and physical, which God intended and exemplified in Father Adam. Thus eventually all the terrible results of Adam's disobedience and fall will be blotted out through the long-promised Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of God under Messiah the Mediator of Israel's New Law Covenant, whose gracious provisions will be open to all the nations of the earth.-- Acts 3:19-23; Jer. 31:31; Zech. 14:1-6,14-20.Hope Long Deferred Now Reviving
What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly
Israel will not be allowed to fulfill any goal for Zionism on what they might envision in their present blinded condition. No one in Israel will be entrusted with any power or authority of a world government without it being under the rulership of the King of Israel, Jesus.
Russell never used the expression, "Universal Israel".

Springmeier claims:

The Watchtower Society distributed a Yiddish periodical Di Stimme (The Voice) all over the world. They especially attempted to place it Russia, to motivate Russian Jews to emigrate to Palestine. Because the paper was ostensibly Christian its distribution came under less restrictions than Jewish literature.
The Watchtower Society offered to supply the Di Stimme periodical to anyone “in any quantity—free.” There seems to have been no bottom line to the financial backing of the WT Society.
As best as we can determine, Die Stimme was not published by the Watch Tower Society, but was the name of a Jewish periodical. Russell simply obtained copies of the one issue that contained his sermons. Nothing in his sermons, however, were advocating a Jewish take-over of the world, especially in the manner that Springmeier appears to be claiming.
The first report concerning Die Stimme was in the December 1, 1910, Watch Tower:
God's Message to the Jews is being heard the world around. Not only were several of our sermons to the Jews published to the extent of 107,600 copies in Jewish papers in the English language, but in 655,000 copies of the Yiddish papers besides 325,000 copies of Die Stimme. These have been republished, we learn, in Russia and elsewhere. True, there was some opposition, but this, we believe, led the Jews to take more careful notice of the Message.
It is not our expectation that the Jews will become Christians now. It will be after they shall have returned to Palestine and the spirit of prayer and supplication shall have been poured on them, that they will "look upon him whom they pierced." Our message is to comfort them and to turn their eyes toward Palestine and to their glorious promises centering there. The Scriptures seem to imply that the "Great Company" will have the honor and privilege of leading them to recognize Jesus as Messiah, during the time of trouble.
Having in mind the foregoing work it might be expected that millions of money had been expended in order to its accomplishment. But, dear friends, economy is associated with every part of the work. No salaries are paid--merely moderate expenses. Yet we are all comfortable and very thankful and happy.
Expended for above work in
Expended elsewhere:
In Great Britain........................$7,965.55
In Germany.............................. 3,673.27
In Australasia..........................   487.06
In India................................   522.37
In S. Africa............................ 1,438.62
In Sweden............................... 1,675.82
In Norway and Denmark................... 3,494.58
In Jamaica..............................   935.29
In France, Italy and Swiss..............   295.73
In Greece...............................   396.45
In Mexico...............................    50.50
Total expenditure.................................$160,679.04
Balance from 1909.....................$  9,718.38
Good Hopes, Tract Fund, etc............ 139,058.72
Shortage..........................................$ 11,901.94
This is close for the extent of the work, and if other "Good Hopes" be realized this balance will be wiped out before January, 1911.
We congratulate all of our dear co-laborers and praise God for the privileges thus represented.
Very truly your servant in the Lord,
C. T. RUSSELL, President.
The above reports mentions there being "325,000 copies of Die Stimme" that had been distributed, that is, evidently, the issue that contained Russell's sermons. The above does not say that Russell or that the Watch Tower Society provided the funds for the distribution of any of those periodicals, or that anyone associated with the Watch Tower Society distributed any of these 325,000 copies of Die Stimme, although it is possible that some of the Bible Students may have had a hand in distributing some of these. Being a Jewish publication, the funds were evidently provided from the Jewish publishers who distributed them. At least, from the way the report reads, that is the conclusion we reach.
But note that Russell was not advocating that the Jews were to take over the world without Christ; indeed, they cannot become anything to the world (except another nation of the world) until they are fully under the rulership of Jesus.
It is in the January 1, 1911 issue that we read:
We have in the English a pamphlet which gives certain extracts from STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. III., and the Jerusalem sermon, 10c. each; in quantities, 60c. per dozen.
For those Jews who read Yiddish we have secured a large edition of the newspaper, Die Stimme, which contains Jerusalem news and reports of several of Brother Russell's sermons to the Jews.
This paper is very acceptable amongst the Jews. It does not point them to Jesus of Nazareth, but does point to the Messiah of Glory. It gives assurances that the time of the establishment of his Kingdom is near, and that then the Jews will be blessed. It points them to the land of Palestine as the place where the national blessings will begin. It does not say so, but all WATCH TOWER readers well know that according to prophecy it will be then and there that Israel's blindness will be turned away and they will recognize him whom they pierced.
It is not our expectation that the Jews will be converted to Christianity. Theirs is the chief of earthly blessings. If some few of them have the hearing ear for the spiritual message, they will hear it, but they will be the exceptional few.
We can supply these Die Stimme papers in any quantity-- free. Any of our readers who would like to have some for free circulation amongst the Jews should advise us immediately, as we are about to order a new edition.
Again, note that this periodical, Die Stimme, was not printed by the Watch Tower; it was not a publication of the Watch Tower Society. It was not a "Christian" publication, although it did contain Russell's sermons.
Russell did obtain an ungiven number of the issue that contained his sermons so that they could be distributed to the Jews, and these were offered free in any quantity to those who wished to join with this work. Whether the Jewish publishers supplied these to the Society gratis or not is not stated, but it is quite possible that the publishers may have supplied them without charge, accepting the cost as advertisement that could possibly boost the circulation of the periodical. Of course, if all the supplies ran out and no more could be obtained, no one would be able to get anymore.
Springmeier exaggerates the matter in saying "seems to have been no bottom line to the financial backing of the WT Society".  Evidently, this exaggerated statement is made to create a mindset to accept his idea that Russell was being funded by the Jews.
At any rate, Russell was not in his sermons advocating a Jewish take-over of the world; he was pointing out the prophecies that indicate that God's favor was returning to them in preparation of their acceptance of their Messiah, whom he identifies elsewhere as being Jesus.
We, however, believe that he fell short in that he did not join the New Testament writers in encouraging the Jews to accept Jesus and become dead to the Law; nevertheless, his point was that there were other future, earthly promises, that belong to Israel. If he had gone in preaching that they must accept Jesus as their Messiah, his sermons, which did point to the Messianic prophecies as applying to Jesus, would probably not have received much acceptance among the Jews.
Springmeier deceptively quotes the January 1, 1911 Watch Tower with the claim that it
quietly reveals that funding came from Jewish sources. The distribution of Di Stimme was aided “…by Jewish Journals interested in the message…”
The quote comes from the following article:
The Scriptures are explicit in declaring that with the close of the Gospel call of this age and the completion of the Bride class Divine favor will turn again to natural Israel. We have from time to time noted favorable climatic conditions in Palestine and later on how the Zionist movement has stirred the Jews everywhere to an interest in their home land and a desire to re-possess it. But these hopes and ambitions have seemed impossible of attainment and the fervor of Zionism has recently been on the wane. Just at this juncture Divine Providence seemed to bless our message to the Jews. Most remarkably the message has been scattered all over the world, partly by Jewish journals interested in the message and partly by others opposing it--nevertheless The Voice (Die Stimme) has gone forth to the ends of the earth.
As a result Jewish hopes are turning more and more toward the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures. The result bids fair to be such a work of grace as the Scriptures describe when telling that the Lord will pour upon Israel at this time the spirit of prayer and supplication. The message to them now is that the land is theirs--that their period of chastisement is at an end and that shortly Divine blessing will come to them--not as Christians, but as Jews. Subsequently they will recognize the Spiritual Messiah referred to in Daniel 12:1. Their journey thenceforth will be an easy one, for the Kingdom will prevail, and Israel will be blessed and become the channel for Divine blessing to all the families of the earth--the chief blessing coming to them from the glorified Christ on the spirit plane and operating through his spiritual, invisible government.
First of all, the default reasoning is that Jewish journals are printed by Jewish publishers and those publishers finance their own publications; they did indeed print some of Russell's sermons in those publications, which, of course, would mean that such a distribution was indeed financed by those who were publishing those journals. Springmeier seems to be distorting this to make it appear that these journals were financing the work of the Watch Tower Society, which was not the case.
The reference to "The Voice (Die Stimme)" is evidently not referring to distribution of Watch Tower literature, but to the Jewish journals that were spreading the The Voice of the Prophets related to the return of the Jews to the land of Israel. At this point, one should note that the expression "Die Stimme" (The Voice) is not exclusive to the Jewish journal by that name, but rather it is applied scripturally to the voice of prophecy related to the Jews, in which voice the Jews are depicted as returning to the land of Israel. In his article, "Zionism is God's Call" (written for the Overland Monthly), Russell applied the term, "The Voice--'Die Stimme'",  as meaning "the voice of prophecy". Such an application is not necessarily in reference to the Jewish journal that carries the name "Die Stimme". It certainly does not mean that the Jewish publishers were financing Watch Tower literature.

Secret Backers?

In 1882, Russell presented the following:
This Society was organized less than one year ago, for the object indicated by the name. It is but proper that a statement should now be made at the beginning of the year 1882.
The object of the Society was stated but no requests for help were made. The donations below mentioned, were free-will offerings--some giving until they could feel it. The amounts ranged from one dollar up to thousands.
Total am'ts of cash received, ...$35,391.18
"   expenditures in printing, ...
etc., etc., .............. 35,336.18
...           ----------
Balance in treasury, Jan. ......$    55.00
Bills coming due, about ........    400.00
To all whose donations have been over one hundred dollars, we have made special reports, and to any donor the books are always open for inspection.
We propose continuing this fund, and will endeavor to use it prudently as fast as it is received. In fact as will be noticed in the above report, the expenditure generally exceeds the receipts, but a brother who has already contributed largely, guarantees any debts incurred, to the amount of one thousand dollars in excess of receipts.
It is a principle with us, not to allow the Lord's money to rust.
Should the fund increase sufficiently to permit it, we propose using some portion of it for sending out other laborers.
We never solicit donations. Those who possess this world's goods and are wholly consecrated need only to know how they can use it. Donations to this fund should be specified. Address C. T. Russell, Pittsburgh.
Springmeier quotes part of this as proof that Russell was being funded by alleged "secret backers". Springmeier focused on this statement of Russell:  “…a brother who has already contributed largely guarantees any debts incurred, to the amount of one thousand dollars in excess of receipts.” By means of the context as reported by Springmeier, the reader would be led to believe that these "secret backers" were Jewish leaders who were seeking to take over the world.
Who this brother was is not given, and all Springmeier or anyone else today could do is give speculation as to who this brother was. More than likely, Russell was referring to himself; he had the funds available from the sale of the chain of clothing stores, and could at that time, make such a guarantee. Russell, in modesty, surely would not say "I will guarantee this payment", and thus would rather refer to himself as "a brother", so as to not be bragging of his own contribution. Regardless, this statement, of course, did not mean that there was some "unlimited" fund that was financing Russell or the Watch Tower Society. What Springmeier presents is his imaginative speculation as though it were fact, based on his desire to make Russell appear to be other than what he actually was.
Russell, of course, did not divulge the names of contributors. He later stated: "We do make known the results of our work every year in an annual report, as seems proper, but no names of contributors are given. No one even gets a chance to get his name before the church, or other contributors. Whatever is given is unto the Lord and no attempt is made to flaunt any human donation. We simply use what is voluntarily handed in." (What Pastor Russell Said, Page 128, Question 4)
Thus, all contributors to the Watch Bible and Tract Society were indeed "secret backers". Nothing in any of this means that we should imagine and assume that Russell or the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was being backed by Jewish leaders who were seeking to take over the world.

Ronald R. Day, Sr. Search data: reslight, rlbible

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