Monday, November 28, 2016

Russell Quotes Concerning the Bible

Many pride themselves as believing in the Bible as the inspired Word of God, while yet viewing the holy writings through the eyes of human dogma. Athanasius, who promoted the false doctrine of the trinity, stated: "The sacred and inspired Scriptures are sufficient to declare truth." And yet at the same time, he proceeded to present a tremendous amount of human imagination, assumptions, etc., which he added to, and read into, the holy scriptures so as to make it appear that the Bible upheld his false teachings. Sadly, trinitarians today do the same, evidently without realizing how much they have to imagine and assume beyond what is written and which they have to add to and read into the scriptures.


But we are not at this time concerned with discussing the trinity, but rather with the many false claims being made about Brother Russell, especially as related to the Bible.

Usually the claims are associated with the Jehovah's Witnesses; indeed, it is often claimed that Russell was the  founder of the "cult" known as Jehovah's Witnesses, and many of the organizational teachings of the leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses are often attributed to Russell, when, in reality, he never have taught such things. In some major teachings, Russell actually taught the opposite (or nearly so) to what the JWs teach. Russell was not the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, nor was he founder of any sect. Recognizing the term "cult" as generic in itself as applying to any form of worship, we can say that he only believed in the true cult that was founded by Jesus and the apostles. His work he did in service to the only true church founded by Jesus and the apostles, whose members are enrolled in heaven, not by being members of various religious organizations created by man here on earth. In doing this, however, he did find that, since many of the doctrines that were later added by the apostate church leaders were not in the Bible, that the teachings of Jesus and the apostles were not in harmony with those doctrines. Some, believing that Bible does teach the doctrines of men, claim Russell was teaching contrary to the Bible since he did not teach such doctrines of men such as the trinity, the inherent immortality of the human soul, eternal conscious torment of all who do not accept Christ, etc. Such have looked a some quotes of Russell taken out of context, and claimed something we are sure Brother Russell never intended, that is, that he placed his own writings as being above the Bible.


Nevertheless, we present below some quotes from Russell pertaining to how he viewed the Bible, some of which also show how he viewed the Bible in relation to his own writings. There could be many more quotes added, and we may add more as God permits.
The Bible is God's Word to us. And while prompt to acknowledge the channels and agencies honored by the Lord in bringing to our attention the things of his Word new and old, let us never forget that the Word itself is the final arbiter, and that if any teaching fails to harmonize with that Word it is because there is no light in it. (Isa. 8:20) Then, as the Apostle says, we are to be not only hearers, but also doers, of the Lord's Word. (James 1:22) And "He that hath my Word let him speak my word faithfully" (Jer. 23:28) --not uncertainly, doubtfully, but "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God."-- Pet. 4:11. -- "The Child Samuel", Watch Tower, October 15, 1895.
Never forget that the Bible is our Standard and that however God-given our helps may be they are "helps" and not substitutes for the Bible. -- "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's Report", Watch Tower, December 15, 1909.
What Christendom needs today is a return to the Bible, an investigation of its teachings and, correspondingly, a rejection of all human creeds, which are admittedly more or less defective. Let us "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free." Let us accept the Bible as the only standard. Let us study it and understand it to the extent of our ability. Let us rejoice in every degree of harmony we all attain in the correct understanding o f it. Let us fellowship as Christians all who acknowledge its Divine authenticity and who, in harmony with its presentation, are trusting in Jesus as their redeemer; and who, in acceptance of His invitation, have forsaken all to be His footstep followers.
These are the real Christians, with whatever sect or party they may have become identified, through the supposition that they were doing the will of God. These alone are the saints; these alone are running in the race course; these alone have the opportunity of making their "calling and election sure." -- DIVINE OMNISCIENCE AND ALMIGHTY POWER, St. Paul Enterprise, December 11, 1917, as reprinted in Harvest Gleanings, Volume 3 (begins on page 140).
The BIBLE is our text book, the DAWNS and TOWERS are our comments, explanations, etc., and our mail department enables us to point out and emphasize misunderstood parts of the instruction. -- The Watch Tower, December, 1902, page 377.
It is a great mistake to affirm that the Bible is the product of the Church; and those who make this claim do not know where to look for the Church. The Scriptures declare that Jesus Christ was the head and forerunner of  the Church; and if he was the forerunner it is plain that none of the members of the Church preceded him, and, therefore, that the Old Testament Scriptures -- which Paul says "were written aforetime (before Christ's advent) for our instruction that we through patience and the consolation of the Scriptures might possess the hope" (of the gospel -- Rom. 15:4) -- were not the product of the Church. And if, as we have shown, the writings of the Apostles were divinely inspired, then the New Testament Scriptures are not the product of the Church. But consecrated human agencies were used in both cases as God's honored instruments. The word of the Lord through the Apostles is not the product of the Church, but of divine revelation. And never since those inspired apostles fell asleep has the church been able to add one iota to the heavenly wisdom revealed through them; and to whatever extent she has wandered from their teachings, she has manifested her folly by vain philosophies which expose her ignorance and egotism. -- The Watch Tower, October 1, 1893, page 292.
Now that we are ready and fully equipped for Bible study, we are handicapped, trammeled by wrong doctrines which have become lodged and fastened in memory. Some of these came from the creeds, some of them from hymn books, some of them from preaching and some from tracts. As a result, we are filled with misunderstandings and inconsistencies which cause the Bible to appear to be self-contradictory. So much is this the case that it is counted a fashionable thing in our day for intelligent people to laugh at the Bible and to deny its Divine inspiration. But the Bible is consistent with itself, and is thoroughly opposed to the doctrines of the creeds. These facts, however, need to be thoroughly learned before we can have full confidence in the Bible and fully appreciate it. These blessings are the portion of the Lord's people more and more, especially during the last thirty-five years. -- The Watch Tower, December 1, 1913 , page 366.
In a word, the work of our Society is conducted on the belief that the Bible is Divinely inspired, and that we are now living in the wonderful Day, mentioned by the Prophets, when "the wise shall understand," when they shall receive "meat in due season" from God's wonderful Book. By the "wise" we mean, of course, those who are wise toward God, not the worldly-wise. -- The Watch Tower, October 15, 1916, page 308.
We as Bible students are coming more and more to appreciate the fact that the Divine Plan presented in the Bible is wonderful in its simplicity and its comprehensiveness. More and more we are coming to see that our error in the past has been that we studied not the Bible, but the creeds -- and correspondingly had darkness instead of light. -- The Watch Tower, August 15, 1914, page 264.
You cannot well say too much for the book, as one that will show in interesting style that the Bible is a self-interpreter and its teachings grandly harmonious, when viewed in the light of sanctified reason and common sense. You can surely say, too, that the book is not dry musty reading, but truly "meat in due season" to the truth-hungry; and (in the language of a sister) that the light, which this precious volume reflects, has made the Bible a new book, a treasure, a mine of wealth to many as well as to yourself. -- The Watch Tower, May 1887, page 1.
Chapters two and three [of the The Divine Plan of the Ages] I must tell you about; they are so helpful, especially if you have young friends inclined to be skeptical. The one gives evidences, aside from the Bible, that there is an all-wise Creator; the other thoroughly answers "higher criticism" and infidelity by the internal proofs that the Bible is inspired. These chapters alone are worth many times the cost of the entire set of books. As one reader has well said, "These helping hands to Bible study are worth more dollars than they cost in cents." -- The Watch Tower, August 15, 1904, page 246
Neither must you lean upon the DAWN (later called Studies in the Scriptures) and the TOWER as infallible teachers. If it was proper for the early Christians to prove what they received from the apostles, who were and who claimed to be inspired, how much more important it is that you fully satisfy yourself that these teachings keep closely within their outline instructions and those of our Lord;-- since their author claims no inspiration, but merely the guidance of the Lord, as one used of him in feeding his flock. -- The Watch Tower, June 1, 1893, page 168.
Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy Scriptures. The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is, that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth. And we still urge, as in the past, that each reader study the subjects we present in the light of the Scriptures, proving all things by the Scriptures, accepting what they see to be thus approved, and rejecting all else. It is to this end, to enable the student to trace the subject in the divinely inspired Record, that we so freely intersperse both quotations and citations of the Scriptures upon which to build. -- Watch Tower, December 15, 1896, page 305

We preach not ourself but Christ. We substantiate nothing except by his Word. We make no laws, formulate no creed, deprive no sheep of his full liberty in Christ; but merely on every question quote the Word of the Lord, through the apostles and prophets. We boast nothing, claim nothing of ourself. We are content to serve the Lord and his flock to the best of our ability--exacting no tithes, no "honor of men," no confession of authority, no compensation; hoping merely for the love of the Lord and of those who are his children and have his Spirit.
So far from forming or desiring to form a new sect, we ignore all sectarian systems and their claimed authority; we recognize only the "one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism" of the Scriptures and fellowship as a "brother" every person of decent morals who confesses faith in the "redemption through the blood of Christ," and especially all of this class who profess a full consecration to the Lord's will and service,-- whatever sect they may be in, or outside of all. -- The Watch Tower, January 15, 1904, page 20.
More directly regarding his Studies in the Scriptures, Russell wrote:
The six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are not intended to supplant the Bible. There are various methods to be pursued in the study of the Bible and these aids to Bible study are in such form that they, of themselves, contain the important elements of the Bible as well as the comments or elucidations of those Bible statements.... It is for each one to think for himself, however, and to guide his conduct in every way accordingly....
If these books are to be of any value to us it must be because we see in them loyalty to the Word of God, and as far as our judgment goes, see them to be in full harmony with the Word and not antagonistic to it. Therefore, in reading them the first time, and perhaps the second time, and before we would accept anything as being our own personal faith and conviction, we should say, “I will not take it because these studies say so; I wish to see what the Bible says.” And so we would study the Scriptures in the light of these SCRIPTURE STUDIES; we would prove every point, or disprove it, as the case might be. We would be satisfied with nothing less than a thorough investigation of the Bible from this standpoint....
If, at the same time, in any future reading, we should come to a place where something did not seem clear to us and we thought of some Scripture which seemed not as harmonious with it as we had previously thought, we would think it our duty to refer at once to the Scriptures, because the Scriptures are the standard, and in that reference to the Scripture it would be with a view to discerning whether or not we had been mistaken in our previous examinations....
This is not, therefore, putting the SCRIPTURE STUDIES as a substitute for the Bible, because so far as substituting for the Bible, the STUDIES, on the contrary, continually refer to the Bible; and if one has any doubt as to a reference or if one’s recollection should lapse in any degree, one should refresh his memory, and, in fact, should see that his every thought is in harmony with the Bible –not merely in accord with the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, but in accord with the Bible. -- The Watch Tower, September 15, 1910, pages 298, 299.

Everything Russell presented in the Watch Tower of 1910 is in full harmony with his earlier statements regarding the Bible and his writings. 

See also: Did Russell Claim His Writings to be Superior to the Bible?

**
Updated: 2/20/2009; 3/13/2014; 10/12/2018; 12/31/2020.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Russell Acknowledges Jesus as "Channel"

I am giving below some quotes from Brother Russell that shows that he believed Jesus to be the channel between God and man.

It was quite proper that these disciples did not follow the course that some are inclined to follow today, viz., to seek to learn of the Master all that he would communicate, and then go forth and pose as wise ones amongst their friends, giving them the information they had received in driblets, and avoiding the mention of Jesus as the Father's channel of communication of the truth to them. -- "We Have Found Him! Eureka!", Watch Tower, February 1, 1900.

None have life in a legal sense except those who have obtained it from God through His provided channel Christ Jesus. -- "From Death to Life in Christ", Harvest Gleanings III.

All resolutions against sin and in favor of righteous thinking and living are commendable and helpful. But I recommend a comprehensive resolution; namely, to get right with God through His appointed Channel, the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the instructions of His Word, the Bible. -- "A New Epoch Starts", Harvest Gleanings III.

God purposed to allow sin to demonstrate for six thousand years its awful fruitage, and then to bring in a great Sabbath Day, the great Millennial Sabbath of a thousand years, and in that time to do a work for mankind which they cannot do for themselves. He is to do this work through Jesus, His appointed Channel. -- "New Creatures Perfect in Holiness", Harvest Gleanings III.

Only as the Heavenly Father shall grant His blessing may fruits to our labors be expected. It is written, "As many as the Lord your God shall call," and "No man can come unto Me except the Father who sent Me draw him." (Acts 2:39; John 6:44) Hence we see that our present appreciation of Divine goodness implies three gifts: (1) The Divine provision of eternal life, (2) Christ the Channel, and (3) the knowledge by which we are enabled to appreciate both the Gift and the Channel. -- "Christ Our Propitiation", Watch Tower, December, 1882.

The channel of all of God's Mercy is Christ Jesus, who declared, "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." Of Him also St. Peter said, "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under Heaven given amongst men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12.)  -- "Hope for the Sodomites", Watch Tower, February 1, 1913.

If anyone finds more that could be placed here, please respond in the comments below.

Related:

Who Did Russell Believe to be the "Only Authority" of the Church?

What Did Russell Teach About "Organization" as Related to the Watch Tower Society?


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The JW Organization, Armageddon, 1914, and Russell

By Ronald R. Day
This was originally posted in a forum in response to some statements made concerning Charles Taze Russell, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Armageddon, and 1914. We have edited and added a little more in the following:.
Evidently, the site we originally responded to has now been removed.
The claim was made that Jehovah's Witnesses had been predicting Armageddon would come in 1914. We should first note that the Jehovah's Witnesses did not exist before 1914, and thus they -- not having yet come into existence -- did not predict anything concerning 1914.
The author claimed that the organization that Russell had started was taken over by Rutherford and that they were not called "Jehovah's Witnesses" until the 1930s.
Regarding the JW Organization and the claim that "the organization that was started by Russell and taken over by Rutherford", we should emphasize that we are not associated with the JWs, nor do we preach the JW organization. Russell did not believe in such an organization, and preached against such authoritarianism. Russell did not “start” an organization that he preached against. The Bible Students -- as a whole (represented by the majority) -- did not ever call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Our contention is that Russell was never a member of the JW organization; Russell did indeed, at least from 1904 on up to 1914, believe that “Armageddon” - the time of trouble - was to begin in 1914. He died in 1916 still with the belief that the time of trouble had begun in 1914, and we believe that we have been in the time of trouble ever since 1914.
Before 1904, Russell believed that Armageddon had begun in 1874, and that it was to end in 1914. Russell adopted and adapted this belief from Barbour. Outside of a few articles, this view was presented in the book, "The Three Worlds" in 1877. Evidently, one of the Bible Students had concluded that the “time of trouble” was to begin, not end, in 1914, and that it was to last for one year, that is, until October of 1915. In 1904, Russell partially adopted this conclusion on this in that Russell concluded that the time of trouble was indeed to begin, not end, in 1914. However, he did not fully accept Edgar’s parallel application that would seem to indicate that the time of trouble would be over in 1915. In the June 15, 1905 issue of the WT, Russell presented both John Edgar’s and U. G. Lee’s parallels. Edgar pointed to the year 1915 as the a possible year of Christendom’s destruction (the end of the time of trouble). Lee’s chart pointed to the year 1920. Russell presented these views, but he never actually adopted either of them, although he mentioned them a few times between 1904 up to 1914. Russell several times stated that we do not know how long after 1914 the time of trouble was to last.
Russell did not, however, believe in the “JW” kind of Armageddon. He did not believe that Armageddon was to eternally destroy all unbelievers; indeed, Russell preached against this idea (as many Second Adventists in his day held to a similar doctrine). Russell’s view was that Armageddon was a period of time -- the time of trouble -- in which the people of the nations would be chastised in preparation for the blessings of the kingdom.
Regarding the claim that "the organization started by Russell ... did not CALL THEMSELVES 'Jehovah’s Witnesses' until the 1930’s.
This is somewhat misleading, since the Bible Students movement was not an "organization" in the days of Russell. Russell created several legal business organizations (The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, The International Bible Students Association (in England), and The People Pulpit's Association), but none of these were created to be a "religious organization", and Russell did not present them as being such. It was not until after Russell died that Rutherford virtually destroyed the WTS as Russell had intended for it to be, and began preaching that it was "Jehovah's visible organization". As a whole (represented by the vast majority), the Bible Students did not come to call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. By 1928, according to the JWs’ own publications, more than 75% of the Bible Students movement had rejected Rutherford’s new organization, and his “organization” gospel.
See:
Bible Students Did Not Become Jehovah's Witnesses
Yes, the JWs do link themselves with Russell, and they falsely project the thought that their organization existed in the days of Russell. Russell, however, did not believe in such authoritarianism, nor did he believe in an “outward organization” such as Rutherford created after Russell died.
Russell believed that one can be saved by grace through faith in the blood of Jesus, regardless of denominational affiliation. Russell stated: “the Lord in Heaven records as members of His true Church all the saintly — whether Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, Greek Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. — and none others…. Do we not see that a part of our mistake was in calling the outward organization the Church of Christ, instead of remembering that the Lord alone writes the names of the Church, that He alone reads the hearts, that He alone is the Judge, and that He alone has the right to blot out the names of those who become reprobates? … We must see that the Church is a comparatively small company of saintly footstep followers of Jesus, irrespective of sectarian lines.” And Russell stated: “all who are worshiping any church organization should be warned. See thou do it not.’ These are thy fellow servants. ‘Worship God.’ `Rev. 22:9`.” He further stated: “so far as the true Church is concerned, the only authority in it is the Lord, the Head of the Church, and his Word, and the words of those whom he specially chose to be his mouth-pieces, the apostles.” And, “we believe that in every nation and denomination there are some true saints of God, members therefore of the true Church of God.”
See:
On "St. Peter's Keys"
http://mostholyfaith.com/bible/reprints/Z1880JAN.asp#Z7:7
http://mostholyfaith.com/bible/OverlandMonthly/overland.asp?xRef=OV383#OV385:3
.
No, Russell did not start the JW organization; it was started by Joseph Rutherford. Rutherford, by means of deceit and legal trickery, gained control of the legal entity -- the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society -- had it redesigned to accommodate his “organization” goals, and proceeded to use that legal entity to create his religious organization, which organization the vast majority of the Bible Students rejected.
Regarding the Watchtower claim that God chose the Bible Students (whom they retrospectively claim as having been “Jehovah’s Witnesses”) in 1918 or 1919:
Many years ago, we produced a tract entitled “The Watchtower’s Self-Contradiction About the Ransom”. In that tract, we pointed out a self-contradiction in the JW claim about 1918. In 1990, the Watchtower stated that one of the reasons God chose their “organization” is that in 1918 they were teaching “the truth” about the ransom. We pointed out, however, that what the Watch Tower in 1918 was teaching about the ransom is not the same as what the Watchtower today is teaching about the ransom, which leads to a self-contradiction.
Also, if God chose the Bible Students back then in 1918/19, the JW reasoning is flawed, since by 1928, the Bible Students movement (as a whole) that was existing in 1918/19 had rejected Rutherford’s new organization gospel. Thus, in effect, the Bible Students movement of 1918 (as a whole - represented by the majority) refused to accept Rutherford’s new organization. The Bible Students movement has retained the teaching of the ransom for all, while Rutherford rejected that teaching. We do not know of any of the Bible Students, however, who believe that God chose the Bible Students in 1918 or 1919, etc.
It was claimed that although they did not call themselves Jehovah's Witnesses, before 1914, they are the same organization. We disagree since the JW organization did not exist in the days of Russell, and since Russell preached against such “outward” organizations having any scriptural claim to be the true church.
The Bible Students, as a whole, never called themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, since the Bible Students movement, as a whole, represented by the majority, rejected Rutherford’s new organization and its designation of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Regarding the JW teaching on the "faithful and discreet slave":
We believe that the JWs are in error in their teaching of the “faithful and discreet slave”.class.
It was stated that we are wrong in saying that the JWs' Armageddon teaching came into existence after Charles Taze Russell died. Although Rutherford had hinted at a new teaching on Armageddon for many years, in 1938 he officially denied the “Armageddon” message as Russell had taught it, and replaced it with the Armageddon message that the JWs basically still teach to this day. Rutherford, in effect, claimed that you have to join his religious organization or else you will be eternally destroyed in Armageddon. This new “Armageddon” teaching, which is what we referred to as the JW Armageddon teaching, is indeed almost the opposite of what Russell taught and believed. No, Russell did not believe in that kind of Armageddon, and yes, that teaching of Rutherford did indeed come into existence after Russell died. Russell did not teach such a doctrine, nor do Bible Students today teach such a doctrine.
It is often claimed that, when 1914 failed, Russell changed 1914 to 1915; usually some quotes are provided from the 1915 editions of the Volumes 2 and 3 of the Studies in the Scriptures compared with earlier versions to show that Russell made such a change. One such change often pointed is on page 99 of "The Time Is at Hand":
“Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” (`Rev. 16:14`), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced. The gathering of the armies is plainly visible from the standpoint of God’s Word.”
However, this change did not take after 1914, but rather it is found as early as the 1911 edition of the "The Time is At Hand". Nevertheless, this change from 1914 to 1915 which evidently came in the 1911 edition of the “The Time is At Hand” has been a puzzlement.
Some have quoted page 99 of the 1915 or 1916 edition of Volume II of the Scriptures Studies, and offer this as proof of their claim that when 1914 failed, Russell changed the date to 1915. This method is misleading, however, since the change on page 99 appeared at least three years before 1914, and not in 1915, nor in 1916, as they would make it appear. In other words, in Volume II of the Studies, the 1911 edition, on page 99, 1914 was changed to 1915, but this change was not made in 1915 (or 1916), as some report; this change appeared in the Volume II as early as 1911. We have found no report, however, of such an change being made in the pages of the Watch Tower, and, thus, it has been speculated that the change may have been made without Russell’s authorization. In his statements elsewhere from 1911 until his death in 1916, he never mentions such a change, and appears to be ignorant of such a change. The change to 1914 to 1915 in the context does not really make sense, although taken out of context, one could conclude that Russell may have changed this to correspond with John Edgar’s thought that the time of trouble was to end in 1915; that is the “time of trouble” was to last for one year, from October of 1914 to October of 1915. Russell, however, although he presented Edgar’s, as well as U. G. Lee’s conclusions in the pages of the Watch Tower of 1905, did not fully adopt either of these conclusions. He maintained that we do not know how long the time of trouble was to last, although he stated that it probably would not last for more than a year.
The change could be seen to reflect Edgar’s view that the time of trouble was to end in 1915, a view that many Bible Students, long before 1914, held in high regard, although such a thought does not actually fit the context.
The earlier editions of Volume II read:
In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of A. D. 1914.
The change that appeared as early as the 1911 edition, three years before 1914, reads as follows:
In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A. D. 1915.
The year 1914 was changed to 1915. As stated, and in context, it would appear that the 1911 edition would, by this one sentence, have the Times of the Gentiles to end in 1915, which, however, from the context, we know that this was not what is meant. If Russell authorized this change, he evidently did so with Edgar’s parallel in mind, which seemed to indicate that the time of trouble was to begin in around October of 1914 and end around October of 1915. Nevertheless, we highly doubt that Russell would have authorized such a change that would be so much out of context, however.
We will also note that this sentence in the LHMM edition of 1937 reads:
In view of this strong evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world begin in 1914, preparatory to the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
This latter edition actually more accurately reflects Russell’s view that he adopted in 1904, ten years before 1914. It is in harmony with what Russell was presenting in the pages of the Watch Tower and elsewhere in 1911. P. S. L. Johnson, who edited the LHMM edition of the Studies, had worked closely with Russell as Russell’s personal secretary.
Nevertheless, at the time of this writing, we do not know for a certainty as to why such a change was made in the way that it was made in the 1911 edition. We can only state that the LHMM edition actually is more correct in expressing the view that Russell adopted in the year 1904, ten years before 1914. It may have been that when changes were made that someone somehow, either by accident, or on purpose, also changed the wording on page 99 from 1914 to 1915 (and in many other places). We do know, however, that it was not Russell’s thought that the end of the Gentiles should be changed to one year later. His overwhelming testimony throughout the pages of Watch Tower attest to this. If any of the Bible Students might have more information on this, feel free to respond below with that information.
See:
Russell's Changes to the Scripture Studies
Regarding page 101 of "The Time Is At Hand":
Page 101 reflects Russell’s view before 1904. The original on page 101 reads:
that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty ” (Rev. 16: 14.), which will end in A. D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.”
This was changed in the 1911 edition to:
that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.
(We have the pdf copies of the 1889 and 1911 editions before 1914; thus, we can only relate what changes we find between these two editions — the change may have been made earlier than 1911)
Again, Russell never stated in the pages of the Watch Tower about a change on page 101 of “The Time Is At Hand”.
The problem with the latter is that Russell did not, in 1911, believe that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” had already commenced. The original view he held was that Armageddon had begun in 1874 or 1878; he later changed his view to express that Armageddon may commence around 1910 or 1911. However, from his writings in the Watch Tower and elsewhere, we see that from 1904 onward Russell was not expecting Armageddon to commence until 1914. Thus, this change from 1914 to 1915 in the 1911 edition really doesn’t make much sense in the context as related to what Russell was stating elsewhere. Had Russell actually authorized any change on page 101, we are sure that he would have also made it clear that he was not expecting the “battle of the great of God Almighty” to commence until 1914; as it reads, however, it makes no sense when compared with what Russell was saying elsewhere.
Johnson’s 1937 edition therefore reads:
that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev 16:14) will begin in A.D. 1914, and that it will end in the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership.
This is actually in harmony with what Russell was saying in 1911. On the other hand, we have found no verification that Russell ever authorized any change on page 101, thus, his many statements elsewhere should take precedent over this change in the 1911 edition.
For instance, in 1911, he wrote, answering the question, How long after the end of time of the Gentiles will it be before the first of the dead are awakened from the tomb?:
Guessing would not be very satisfactory, but our guess would be that after the times of the Gentiles come to a conclusion there will be a great time of trouble as the Scriptures clearly point out — trouble as never was since there was a nation. Then, following that trouble would come the reign of righteousness, blessings, increase of knowledge, God’s favor among men, and the living nations would all be more or less brought to a knowledge of the Lord. How long that would require I do not know. — What Pastor Russell Said, Q589:3.
Brother Russell states that he was expecting that the time of trouble was to come after the end of the times of Gentiles (1914). Also we should note that he was not expecting that the time of trouble (Armageddon) was to bring eternal destruction on the masses of the people, but that after the trouble the nations would be brought to a knowledge of the Lord. He states that he does not know how long after 1914 that this will require.
Another quote from 1911:
Our readers know that for some years we have been expecting this Age to close with an awful time of trouble, and we expect it to break out with suddenness and force not long after October, 1914, which, so far as we can understand the Scriptures, is the date at which the Times of the Gentiles –the lease of earth’s dominions to the Gentiles–will expire. — “Loosing the Four Winds of Heaven”, May 15, 1911, page 146, Reprints 4822.
Still Russell was stating that he was “expecting” (not prophesying) that the time of trouble would break out not long after October of 1914. He was not expecting the time of trouble to end in 1914 as he had thought before 1904.
Another quote from Russell that contains a change from his earlier editions:
In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the Gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that that date will see the disintegration of the rule of imperfect men. -- The Time is At Hand, page 76.
The editions before 1915 read:
In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the Gentiles, i. e., the full end of their lease of dominion, vill be reached in A. D. 1914; and that that date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men.
Yes, Russell did believe that the Gentile Times were to end in 1914; he was not, however, expecting the JW kind of Armageddon, not for 1914 or any other time. He was expecting Armageddon to begin in 1914, but he was not expecting an Armageddon that would eternally destroy unbelievers.
This change in 1915 edition was not something new, however. The change made in the 1915 edition actually reflects Russell's change of viewpoint that had taken place in 1904, ten years before 1914. By "disintegration", it should be evident that Russell did not mean that all of man's rule would immediately be gone in 1914, since, at the time that he made the change, 1914 was already past. Nevertheless, the change reflected the view he had been expressing since 1904. In 1904, Russell came to the conclusion that 1914 was to see the beginning, not the end, of the time of trouble. In other words, from 1904 onward, Russell was expecting to see the beginning of the disintegration of the rule of imperfect men in 1914, not the full end of the rule of imperfect men.
Russell made a few corrections to the Scripture Studies to reflect his change of view, but there has never been complete updating of the Studies in the Scriptures to reflect his change of view in 1904. This has left many inconsistencies in the Studies in the Scriptures. Russell, from 1904 onward, was expecting, not the end of the time of trouble in 1914, but rather the beginning of the time of trouble; thus what he was saying in the Watch Tower, in his sermons, and elsewhere, between the years 1904 override what he had stated earlier in the Scripture Studies. See:
Russell and 1914;
Finally, many cite The Time Is At Hand 1915 edition, page 242. The quote from page 242 appears in the 1889 edition as:
The "Gentile Times" prove that the present governments must all be overturned before the close of A. D. 1914.
The quote on page 242 appears in the 1911 edition as:
The "Gentile Times" prove that the present governments must all be overturned about the close of A. D. 1914.
We do not have a 1915 edition, but the online edition at mostholyfaith reads:
The "Gentile Times" prove that the present governments must all be overturned about the close of A.D. 1915.
This reflects that change reported for the 1915 edition.
The LHMM 1937 edition reads:
The Gentile Times prove that the present governments must start to be overturned about October, 1914.
Again, we do not find any place where Russell ever authorized any change on page 242 of "The Time Is At Hand".
The 1889 edition reflects Russell's view before 1904.
The 1911 edition does not actually harmonize with what Russell was saying elsewhere between 1904 up to 1914, although one could, by saying "about 1914" see such as reflecting Russell's view that time of trouble would come in 1914, and end sometime after 1914. Nevertheless, Russell stated several times that he was not setting any date for the end of the time of trouble.
Not having editions between 1911 and 1915, we cannot say for a certainty when any change was made from 1914 to 1915 on page 242, as it appears in many editions printed to date. It could have been anywhere from 1912 to 1915, if it evidently appears in the 1915 edition. At any rate, "about the close of 1915" could seem to harmonize with Edgar's view (presented in the pages of the Watch Tower in 1905) that the time of trouble would be over in one year after October of 1914. However, this view, again, does not fit the context of what Russell was talking about, that is, "the Gentile Times", since Russell never believed that the Gentile Times would end at the close of 1915. Nowhere in his writings elsewhere did he ever say that the Gentile Times would end at the close of the year 1915. Russell continued to believe until his death in 1916 that the Gentile Times ended in October of 1914. At the same time, one should need understand that Russell believed that October of 1914 was end of 1914, and the Jewish year corresponding to 1915 began in October of 1914. Thus, at times, Russell referred to the year 1915 as beginning in October of 1914.
The LHMM edition of 1937, again, reflects what Russell had actually been saying from 1904 onward, that the time of trouble was to begin in 1914, which would also mean the beginning of the disintegration of the Gentile Kingdoms.
Nevertheless, the myth prevails that Russell, when he allegedly saw that 1914 had failed, changed 1914 to 1915. The following quotes from Russell between October of 1914 until his death in 1916 show that Russell did not change 1914 to 1915:
Watch Tower, February 15, 1915, page 53:
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.
Watch Tower, February 15, 1915, page 53:
We believe that the Times of the Gentiles ended just on time, as shown in Volume II. of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.
Watch Tower, February 15, 1915, page 55:
The Times of the Gentiles have ended, and the nations are now disintegrating.
Russell certainly believed, in February of 1915, that the Gentile Times had already ended. He had not changed the date to October of 1915. Russell, however, by his various statements from 1911 to 1916, seemed to be unaware that of the changes that had appeared in the 1911 editions of his STUDIES. This provides evidence that he was never aware that the dates had been changed in the 1911 edition of his books.
Watch Tower April 15, 1915, page 127:
We believe that the dates have proven to be quite right. 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.
Rather than saying that 1914 was the wrong date, Russell states that he still believed that the dates had proven to be quite correct. Thus, in April of 1915, Russell had not changed the date 1914 to 1915.
Watch Tower June 1, 1915, page 166:
We do not think that the Gospel Age fully ended in September 1914, but merely the Times of the Gentiles.
Again, this shows that in June of 1915, he still believed that the Gentile Times had already ended in 1914; he was not looking for them to end in October of 1915.
Watch Tower, July 15, 1915, page 215:
As we leave here today, we do so with the thought that we may meet again as a Convention, or perhaps we may not meet again. It is not for you or for me to be dictatorial. The Bible indicates that the Gentile Times have ended. Their kings have had their day.
The above was taken from a discourse that Russell gave in Oakland in June of 1915. It shows that in June of 1915 he was still holding to the belief that the Gentile Times had already ended. It also shows that he had not set forth any date for the time of trouble to end.
Watch Tower September 1, 1915, page 286:
Many Bible students are thoroughly convinced that the 2520 years from Zedekiah's day to October, 1914, ended there--that that date marked the end of God's lease of world power to the Gentile nations.
In September of 1915 Russell was still pointing to the 1914 as the end of the Gentiles; he did not mention any expectation that they were to end a month later.
Watch Tower January 1, 1916, page 4
We have seen, too, that when Elijah's time for translation came, he was sent from Gilgal to Bethel, from Bethel to Jericho and from Jericho to Jordan; and that these different points were measurably disappointing; yet that Elijah and Elisha were not discouraged, but went on--Jordan representing the end of the Times of the Gentiles, 1915.
Here Russell does refer to the end of the Time of the Gentiles as being 1915. Does this mean that he had changed his view, and that he was saying that the Gentile Times had not ended in 1914? No, because his usage of 1915 is the same as found in the very first editions of his STUDIES, as referring to the Jewish year correspond to 1915 as beginning in October of 1914. See the first edition of The Time Is At Hand (1889) page 232, where he spoke of A.D. 1915 as "the closing of the Gentile Times." The chronology that Russell used was "whole years" or "full years" running from October to October, thus the end of 1914 A.D. in October would be the beginning of 1915 A.D. Indeed, he often referred to the Gentile Times as ending in 1915 as meaning the beginning of the Jewish year in October of 1914.
Watch Tower February 1, 1916, page 38.
Did the Times of the Gentiles end by October 1st, 1914? It certainly looks very much as if they did.
Russell, in February 1916, was still holding to the belief that the Gentile Times had ended in October of 1914. He had not changed 1914 to 1915.
Watch Tower September 1, 1916, page 264.
It still seems clear to us that the prophetic period known as the Times of the Gentiles ended chronologically in October, 1914.
In September of 1916, just before his death, he was still holding to the belief that the Gentile Times had ended in 1914. He still had not changed it to 1915.
One has stated that "Russell I believe was expecting the end of the Gentile times, maybe even Armagedden. He got WWI instead. He died two yrs later. Of course he did update the dates in his books in 1916, up one year."
Our Response:
Yes, Russell was expecting the end of the Gentile Times in 1914; he was also expecting Armageddon to begin in 1914, and he was also expecting warfare to begin in 1914. Although Russell was wrong in much of the details, we do believe he was correct in that the Gentile Times did end in 1914; we believe he was correct in that warfare did break out in 1914; we believe he was correct in that the beginning of the "time of trouble" came in 1914, and we believe we have been in the "time of trouble" ever since 1914.
One has to realize, however, that Russell’s view of Armageddon is not at all the same as what the JWs preach Armageddon to be. Russell was not expecting that in 1914 all unbelievers would be eternally destroyed, as some of the Watchtower statements have led many to believe. Russell believed that Armageddon, as paralled with the "time of trouble" is a period of time for the chastisement of the people of the nations, ending in the climatic battle of Armageddon; Russell did not believe that Armageddon would result in the eternal destruction of unbelievers.
Did Russell update his books one year in 1916? No, as we have seen, in 1916, Russell was still holding to the belief that the Gentile Times ended in 1914. Russell did in 1916, change the author’s forewards in the Studies in the Scriptures; Russell did not, however, in those forewards change 1914 to 1915. As those forewards show, Russell died in 1916 still with the belief that the Gentile Times had ended in 1914; he died in 1916, still with the belief that the time of trouble had begun in 1914 — not 1915. No, Russell never changed 1914 to one year later.
See the research concerning:
Russell and 1915
See various:
1916 forewards in the Scripture Studies
One has stated: "As William Miller found out, there are problems when you start date setting in regard to prophesy."
Yes, there are problems that will come, since God is not speaking through anyone on earth today as a prophet. All that one can do is imperfectly study the prophecies of the Bible and try -- most often imperfectly -- to reach conclusions pertaining to the Biblical prophecies.
Many, however, due to past failures, have, in effect, concluded that one should not study the time prophecies of the Bible. Many would seem to like to throw out the time prophecies in the Bible and disregard them. Many of these, however, do not apply such to the seventy weeks of Daniel 9, so that, while condemning date setting, themselves do set dates regarding the seventy weeks, especially as related to Christ's first appearing, evidently without any thought that they are themselves “date setting”. I do not believe, however, that one should disregard any of the time prophecies of the Bible.
Originally published sometime before March 18, 2012; Updated and republished: October 26, 2014; Updated: February, 2020.

Russell and the Alleged Occult Connection

I have been asked to look at what Doug Shields presented regarding Charles Taze Russell and the occult. In doing so, we have decided to respond here.
Shields begins by talking about Sir Isaac Newton. Shields claims that Newton was "under the delusion that he was one of the few men given the ability to interpret the bible and related prophecy, specifically biblical chronology." No reference is given. Newton did write a lot about the Bible; we don't know, however, that he actually ever presented himself in the manner described by Shields. If he did, it would seem that he would have published his writings on the Bible so as to get the message out, but he never did.
Shields states that there is "a striking similarity" between Newton and Russell, so much so he says that certain people think that Russell studied Newton's writings and lifted Newton's ideas and presented them as his own. In reality, we highly doubt that Russell ever studied much of Newton's religious writings, most of which had not even been published. Russell mentions Newton a few times, so we are at least aware that Newton thought the disputed clause in 1 John 5:7 is spurious. On the other hand, Russell was more influenced by later writers which he wrote about, some of whom he actually studied with, such as Henry Dunn, George Storrs, Henry Grew, George Stetson, and Nelson Barbour.
Like many others, Shields presents Charles Taze Russell as being the "founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses". As we have shown many times, Russell did not believe in such an organization as the Jehovah's Witnesses organization, nor did he believe the Armageddon teachings of that organization. He was certainly not the founder of that which he preached against.
Shields asks his readers if they know that Newton was a member of the Rosicrucians. We know that many have claimed that he was a member of the Rosicrucians. He evidently did have friends who were members of the Rosicrucians that existed in his day; we cannot say that he either was or was not a member of the Rosicrucians. Newton certainly did not seem to agree with much that the Rosicrucians believe, such as the Rosicrucian trinity, who Jesus is, or the immortality and transmigration of the soul.
Some Rosicrucians claim that Newton was a Rosicrucian, but they also make the same claim that Plato, Jesus and many others were Rosicrucian. The claim that Newton was a member of Rosicrucian order of his day appears to be partly based on some of his writings that appear to be alchemist in nature. Additionally, it was stated that when he died, he left over 160 books in his library on alchemy. We present below a quote from a book presented by the Wikimedia Foundation entitled: Sir Isaac Newton - His Life and Inluence
Newton's ownership of these materials [books on alchemy] by no means denotes membership within the early Rosicrucian order. Furthermore, considering that his personal alchemical investigations were focused upon discovering materials which the Rosicrucians professed to already be in possession of long before he was born, would seem to exclude Newton from their membership. During his own life, Newton was openly accused of being a Rosicrucian, as were many members of The Royal Society. Though it is not know for sure if Isaac Newton was in fact a Rosicrucian, and he never publicly identified himself as one, from his writings it does appear that he may have shared many of their sentiments and beliefs.
The Sun of Righteousness Illustration
At any rate, Shields next states that "they [evidently referring to the Rosicrucians] put a lot of stock into Egyptian gods (check the winged globe on the cover of any copy of Studies In The Scriptures and you’ll be looking at an image of the sun god Ra)." Actually, if you look on the cover of Brother Russell's Studies in the Scriptures, you'll be looking at an illustration of the "sun of righteousness" as found in the Bible at Malachi 4:2. The sun of righteousness symbolism that Malachi presented is in contrast with the present sun of vanity and unrighteousness. (Genesis 3:18,19; Ecclesiastes 1:14; 3:16; Romans 8:20,21,22) Fritz Springmeier insinuates that the words of Yahweh recorded by Malachi 4:2 was influenced by Malachi's contact with pagans. Russell, however, certainly did not believe in any of the Egyptians gods.
We read concerning Egypt: "Yahweh has mixed a spirit of perverseness in the midst of her; and they have caused Egypt to go astray in every work of it, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit." (Isaiah 19:14) Thus, it is no wonder that Egypt would pervert God's symbolism for the purposes of idolatry. They did it with the sun, moon, stars, trees, and many of the animals that God created. Their perversion of God's work does not make God's work itself perverted.
Shields insinutates a connection between Russell and the Rosicrucians since some Rosicrucain authors quote Piazzi Smyth. Yes, Nelson Barbour made use of the Smyth's measurements of the Great Pyramid, and quoted from Smyth, and so did Charles Taze Russell. So far, the greatest thing objectionable we have found regarding the works of Piazzi Smyth was his belief in the Anglo-Israelite theory, a theory that Russell did not accept. At any rate, Shields presents how the Roscricucians quote Smyth and Shields evidently wants his readers to imagine dots connecting Russell with the Rosicrucians since he also quoted Smyth.
Shields then presents a picture of Piazzi Smyth's grave and a picture that he mistakenly purports to be "the gravestone of Charles Taze Russell." We have not found much concerning the pyramid constructed over Piazzi Smyth's grave; evidently, his wife had it constructed. Smyth was convinced that the Great Pyramid is the "witness" that God said he had put in Egypt. (Isaiah 19:19,20) We share this belief with Smyth, as the evidence is overwhelming that the Great Pyramid was indeed constructed under the direction of Yahweh.
The picture that Shields presents as the "gravestone of Charles Taze Russell" is actually a pyramid monument that Joseph Rutherford authorized to be constructed several years after Russell died. It was constructed to honor God's Witness in Egypt; it is not Russell's "gravestone". It was intended to be a memorial especially to various ones associated with the Watch Tower Society, and there are many blank spaces left for many names to be inscribed on that replica of God's witness in Egypt. Within just a few years, however, Rutherford did a total turnabout when he claimed that Satan had the Great Pyramid constructed in Egypt. The manner in which he did this, however, would have meant that Satan knew a lot about the Bible before the Bible was written. Nevertheless, due to Rutherford's change concerning the Great Pyramid, the spaces on the replica remained blank.
Except perhaps for the extravagant use of funds, however, we find nothing wrong about that replica of God's Witness in Egypt, nor do we find anything wrong with the pyramid that was built on Smyth's grave.
Shields states: "I can understand his mistakes in thinking the pyramid was a mystical symbol and communication from God. I get that!" By the way that this is worded, we highly doubt that Shields does "get" the meaning of God's witness in Egypt. So far we are not sure what Shields means by the pyramid as being "mystical symbol" as this would relate to Brother Russell's writings; as far as we have been able to determine, Russell never spoke of the Great Pyramid as a "mystical symbol" nor did he view the Great Pyramid as a means to gain any kind of special "communication with God" other than corroboration of the Bible.
Shields further states: "What I don’t get is the significance of having this by his grave! What possible reason would he have unless he thought (as well as the Watchtower leadership) that this would give him some advantage in the 'afterlife'." We do not know that Russell ever actually approved that this monument should be constructed. Rutherford and his associates indicated that Russell did approve of that monument. Regardless, its purpose is to honor God's witness in Egypt; it was not constructed to give Russell or anyone else "some advantage in the 'afterlife'. Nevertheless, the manner in which Shields makes his statements appear to be an attempt to leave the reader with the thought that Brother Russell was connected to some form of heathen occultism.
Shields wonders why Piazzi Smyth's and "Russell’s pyramid" are so similar, and he wonders why Russell was was so interested in Smyth's work. Our response is that both pyramids are replicas of the same witness in Egypt; why should they not be similar? It should be obvious as to why Russell was interested in Smyth's work, since they both shared similar views concerning God's witness in Egypt. Of course, Shields' purpose in asking these questions appear to be based on some kind of idea that, since the Rosicrucians have some teachings regarding the Great Pyramid, that anyone who believes that the Great Pyramid as God's witness in Egypt must have something with heathen occultism, etc., and his imagination is that there is a link between the Rosicrucians and Russell because both made references to the Great Pyramid.
Then Shields asks why would Newton have a similar pyramid over his grave? Isaac Newton also realized that the Great Pyramid is God's witness in Egypt, so why would it be strange for there to a pyramid over his grave? As far as I can tell, Newton's interest, like Russell's, in the Great Pyramid, was strictly Biblical and Scientific, and had nothing to do with practicing any heathen occultism.
Shields states: "The Rosicrucians as well as Piazzi, Newton and Russell all thought that the great pyramid was a key to understanding the hidden code of prophecy in certain books of the bible." I am not certain about the Rosicrucians; Russell never mentions any "hidden code" -- period. He does refer to the mysteries, secrets, of the Bible that are revealed only to the saints. He also refers to the "secrets" of the Great Pyramid, which may understood through the holy spirit in light of the Bible. As far as Newton and Smyth, we would have to see where they speak of any such "hidden code" in the Bible, and see what exactly is being referred to, if they indeed ever do mention any such hidden code. Shields' effort, however, is evidently to continue draw an imaginaray parallel between what the Rosicrucians taught and what Newton, Smyth and and Russell believed. We know Newton rejected many of the teachings of the Rosicrucians, and most definitely we know that Russell rejected the teachings of the Rosicrucians. Of course, the Rosicrucians claim to be Christian, thus there may some parallels between them and anyone else who professes to be Christian. Brother Russell, rather briefly in book, Thy Kingdom Come, demonstrated the following:
The Great Pyramid, however, proves to be a storehouse of important truth--scientific, historic and prophetic--and its testimony is found to be in perfect accord with the Bible, expressing the prominent features of its truths in beautiful and fitting symbols. It is by no means an addition to the written revelation: that revelation is complete and perfect, and needs no addition. But it is a strong corroborative witness to God's plan; and few students can carefully examine it, marking the harmony of its testimony with that of the written Word, without feeling impressed that its construction was planned and directed by the same divine wisdom, and that it is the pillar of witness referred to by the prophet in the above quotation. -- Thy Kingdom Come, pages 314,315.
An extensive demonstration of the testimony of God's Witness in Egypt was given by the Edgar brothers, John and Morton.
Russell did not view the Great Pyramid as "key" to understanding Bible prophecy; he did view the Great Pyramid to be corroborative of the Bible, including its prophecies.
Shields claims that Russell was an "avid student of Pyramidology." This may be misleading, since the word pyramidology, as it used today, often refers to things that Russell did not believe in. Russell never spoke of pyramidology, and probably would never have thought himself as a "pyramidologist." Nevertheless, the early usage of the word "pyramidology" simply refers to the study of the Great Pyramid as God's witness in Egypt. It has nothing at all to do with heathen occultism, practice of astrology, spiritism, pyramid power, etc.
Shields claims that Russell "sought to validate his predicted dates of the end times by using the Great Pyramid as a 'proof'." The Great Pyramid does indeed corroborate the time features that can be seen from the Bible, and that is what Russell presented. Nothing wrong with that. However, Russell never wrote anything about "end times". He did write about the time of the end, which he believed had begun in 1799.
Shields evidently finds fault with Russell's reference to the Great Pyramid as God's Stone Witness". Since it is made of stone, and since the evidence is overwhelming that it is God's witness in Egypt, as spoken of in the Bible, yes, it is God's Stone Witness in Egypt.
Shields cites the alleged the similarities "of belief, writings, as well as the references to Smyth’s work by both the Rosicrucians and Charles Taze Russell" and indication of a "hidden relationship" with the Rosicrucians. By this same, method, since Rosicrucians quote a lot from the Bible, and since all professed Christian churches quote a lot from the Bible, then, consistent with the reasoning given, anyone who professes Christianity must have some ties to the Rosicrucians, for certainly it could not be a coincidence that they would both quote from the same book. (We say this only to show that this method of reasoning is actually unreasonable.) In reality, the writings and teachings, especially of both Newton and Russell, show a great difference in belief from what the Rosicrucians teach.
Shields proclaims that The Watchtower certainly acts like a mystical order. In reference to The Watchtower of today, on this to some extent we agree. Russell's Watch Tower, however, never advocated -- and even spoke against -- such a hierarchy as now exists amonst the JWs. Russell did not believe in any body of men one earth who should serve as a "governing body", nor did he claim such authority for himself. Indeed, he disclaimed any such authority. He never said anything to the effect that one must accept his conclusions concerning chronology, time prophecies, or the great pyramid in order to be Christian, and certainly he never claimed that one had to become associated with the International Bible Students Association or else be eternally destroyed in Armageddon.
Shields again creates an imagined connection between a drawing presented as being a drawing of Rosicrucian temple and the cover of Russell's Watch Tower magazine. He seems think the tetragrammton is a "old" Hebrew word for "God". It is not; it is the eternal Holy Name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never told anyone to change His eternal Holy Name to something else. -- Exodus 3:14,15; Deuteronomy 18:15-19.
Shields states that there is a winged globe around the Holy Name at the top of the Rosicrucian picture. This would not fit what Russell taught, for this would imply that Yahweh himself is "sun of rightoeusness". Russell did not believe such. Nevertheless, again, the Rosicrucians, professing to be Christian, may have some similarities with what any Christian group may present; such similarities do not mean that we should supply an imaginary connection between them.
Contrary to Shields' conclusion that what he has presented is "overwhelming evidence of a hidden collaboration", those who are truly familiar with what Russell taught, if they should read very much of the teachings of the Rosicrucians, would note, not an overwhelming agreement with them, but an overwhelming disagreement with them. In reality, all Shields provides for "evidence" is what is being imagined and assumed.