Thursday, March 30, 2017

1 John 4:2; 2 John 1:7 -- Coming in the Flesh

The following is taken from;
The Watch Tower
March 1887, page 2.

Rochester, N.Y.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: -- Since removing here I have had my faith in the correctness of your teachings relative to the coming of the Lord a spirit being and not flesh, assailed and shaken by parties who claim that you are Anti-Christ. They base the charge upon what they claim is the literal translation of 2 John 1:7. They render it thus: "Who confess not that Jesus is coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." If they are correct, then to deny that our Lord's second coming will be as before, viz. in the flesh, is wrong. Looking at the word for word translation of the passage in the Diaglott I find the Greek word is there translated coming, though in the regular reading translation in the side column of the Diaglott it is rendered did come. Doubtless the Diaglott's word for word translation gave rise to the application of this Scripture against you here. But no matter, the question is an important one, and I write you to know, if you can solve the difficulty. I called upon Prof. Kendricks of the Rochester College and asked him for the most literal meaning of the Greek word in dispute, and he said that its most literal meaning was coming.

Hoping to hear from you soon I am Yours respectfully C. G__________.

[The above is not the exact wording as our brother's letter got mislaid. We recall the main points from memory. We replied at once as below and now lay it before our readers that all may be armed on this point.]

DEAR BRO. G.: -- Yours of the 23d came duly. I am glad to see the candor with which you approach the question which you present to me, and that before deciding on the matter you write to see what I know of it. This is right, and your course may save you from being stumbled.

The Greek word used in 1 John 4:2, and that of 2 John 1:7, for "is come," are from the same Greek root, and might like our English words came, come, and coming, be used to indicate a past, or present, or future coming according to the way in which it is used. A strict translation of the two words would be (1 John 4:2) came, and coming (2 John 1:7.); but the weight you, and perhaps others, give this fact, is not justified, and probably arises from an imperfect knowledge of the Greek. To make the matter quite plain, let me show you how the English word coming, may clearly refer to a past coming, and let this be an illustration of the Greek: for instance when we say -- It was not the time, but the manner of our Lord's coming, that surprised and deceived the Jewish Doctors of the Law -- or that, He who denies that coming, stands where the Jew stands to-day, and must therefore be an opponent of the truth, a contradictor of the Apostle's testimony, and hence an opponent of the entire work of grace in progress during the Gospel age--Antichrist.

It is after this manner that erchomia is used in 2 John 1:7; and it is repeatedly used similarly elsewhere. Take your Young's Concordance, turn to pages 181 and 182. Note the instances in which this same word is used in the various tenses, past, present and future--came, come, cometh, coming. If you will examine the context you will find that in the majority of cases in which it is used it relates to transactions already past, just as in the cases under consideration--1 John 4:2. and 2 John 7.

You mention the literal word for word translation of the Diaglott in 2 John 7. We agree with it fully, you see, as to the literal meaning of the Greek word standing alone disassociated from the limitations of the sentence. Professor Kendrick answered your question as to the literal meaning of the word, in the same way; so would any Greek scholar. But the translator of the Diaglott, as also Professor Kendrick, and every other person who knows what he discusses, will agree with me that the word can be used to refer to a past coming, just as our English word coming, can; as illustrated in above examples. Furthermore, they will all agree that the construction of the Greek in 2 John 1:7. signifies a past coming.

You will notice that while the Diaglott in its literal translation, gives coming as the meaning of the disputed word, yet when giving the sense of the sentence, it in very unmistakeable terms shows that the coming was in the past, there rendering it did come. The author evidently was guarding the unscholarly against an error to which they would be very liable. Young's Bible gives only the very literal translation, coming, but when posted, any one can see from the construction of the sentence, that a past, and not a future coming is referred to.

Notice too that nearly all Translators would naturally be favorable to the view that our Lord's second coming will be again in the flesh; for they so expect him -- among others, the Author of the Diaglott. Hence it cannot be claimed that they were influenced in their translation in our favor.

Yours in fellowship and service C. T. Russell.

An answer to the above received before going to press, says that Bro. G. called upon Prof. Kendrick again, to inquire concerning the sense of the entire sentence (2 Jno. 7.) referred to above. The Professor fully agreed with us that the reference was to a "coming in the flesh" already in the past, and had no reference whatever to a future event.


Our comments:

Most scholars appear to agree that 1 John 4:2 is referring to the past, to Jesus' appearance in the first century. 

And every spirit that confesseth not ... - That is, this doctrine is essential to the Christian system; and he who does not hold it cannot be regarded either as a Christian, or recognised as a Christian teacher. If he was not a man, then all that occurred in his life, in Gethsemane, and on the cross, was in "appearance" only, and was assumed only to delude the senses. There were no real sufferings; there was no shedding of blood; there was no death on the cross; and, of course, there was no atonement. A mere show, an appearance assumed, a vision, could not make atonement for sin; and a denial, therefore, of the doctrine that the Son of God had come in the flesh, was in fact a denial of the doctrine of expiation for sin. -- Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 John 4".
"Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible".

Thus, Albert Barnes applies 1 John 4:3 to Jesus' appearance in the first century. 

Since there are variant readings in the manuscripts of 1 John 4:2, many scholars believe that the reference to Jesus' coming in the flesh in this verse was not originally written by John.

Adam Clarke stated regarding 1 John 4:3:

Every spirit - Every teacher, that confesseth not Jesus, is not of God - has not been inspired by God. The words ... is come in the flesh, are wanting in AB, several others, both the Syriac, the Polyglot Arabic, Ethiopic, Coptic, Armenian, and Vulgate; in Origen, Cyril, Theodoret, Irenaeus, and others. Griesbach has left them out of the text. -- Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 John 4". 
"The Adam Clarke Commentary". 

Albert Barnes writes concerning 2 John 1:7:

Who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh - Who maintain that he assumed only the appearance of a man, and was not really incarnate. See the notes at 1 John 4:2-3. -- Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 John 1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

John Gill writes concerning 2 John 2:7:

who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh;
these were not the Jews who denied that Jesus was the Christ, though they would not allow that Christ was come in the flesh; but these were some who bore the Christian name, and professed to believe in Jesus Christ, but would not own that he was really incarnate, or assumed a true human nature, only in appearance; and denied that he took true and real flesh of the virgin, but only seemed to do so; and these are confuted by the apostle, ( 1 John 1:1 ) ; and upon everyone of these he justly fixes the following character.

Thus John Gill recognizes that it is referring to Jesus' appearance in the first century, although he speaks of Jesus as having been incarnate, thus referring to the trinitarian idea that Jesus was God Almighty incarnated in the flesh.

Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐρχόμενον ἐν σαρκί] is to be taken just as the words 1 John 4:2, that run almost exactly similarly. The present participle ἐρχόμενον, instead of which ἐληλυθότα is used there, expresses the idea in itself—apart from the idea of time; comp. John 6:14; Bengel incorrectly: qui veniebat, with an appeal to 3 John 1:3, for in this passage ἐρχομένων and μαρτυρούντων, by their close connection with ἐχάρην, are distinctly indicated as imperfect participles; such a connection does not exist here, nor are we to interpret, with Baumgarten-Crusius: “He who was to come;” still more incorrectly Oecumenius takes it as future participle, referring it to the second coming of Christ. -- Meyer's New Testament Commentary:

that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh] This is not quite accurate; nor does R. V., ‘that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh’, seem to be more than a partial correction. Rather, that confess not Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, or possibly, that confess not Jesus as Christ coming in the flesh. See on 1 John 4:2, where the Greek is similar, but with perfect instead of present participle. These deceivers denied not merely the fact of the Incarnation, but its possibility. In both passages A. V. and R. V. translate as if we had the infinitive mood instead of the participle. The difference is, that with the participle the denial is directed against the Person, ‘they deny Jesus’; with the infinitive it is directed against the fact, ‘they deny that He cometh’ or ‘has come.’ Note that Christ is never said to come into the flesh; but either, as here and 1 John 4:2, to come in the flesh; or, to become flesh (John 1:14). To say that Christ came into the flesh would leave room for saying that the Divine Son was united with Jesus after He was born of Mary; which would be no true Incarnation. -- Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:

The above comments refer to Jesus' becoming flesh as being "incarnation," evidently referring to the doctrine of incarnation, which we do not agree with.

Some Related Studies:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Russell and the Seventh-Day Adventists

From time to time, some authors have made statements to the effect that Charles Taze Russell had been associated with the Seventh-Day Adventists, or that he got his teachings from the Seventh-Day Adventists, or similar statements. In reality, Russell was never associated with the Seventh-Day Adventist organization, nor is there any evidence that Russell obtained his teachings from the writings of any author associated with that organization.

The confusion appears to be that many fail to distinguish Adventists in general from the Seventh-Day Adventist organization. Russell obtained a lot of his basic beliefs from George Storrs, who is often associated with Adventists, but George Storrs was never a member of, nor did he believe in, the Seventh-Day Adventist organization. Likewise, Russell received much of his understanding of time prophecy from N. H. Barbour. Barbour was associated with the "Second Adventist" movement, but not the Seventh-Day Adventist organization.

To many this may seem to be not important, but it is because the false idea that Russell received his beliefs from the Seventh-Day Adventist organization that can lead to many wrong conclusions about what Russell taught and believed. Many have entertained the false ideas that Charles Taze Russell claimed to have restored the one true church (similar to the SDA belief and the Jehovah's Witnesses belief), that he claimed to be a prophet receiving visions (similar to Ellen G. White's claims and the authoritarian claims of the JW leadership), that he started the JW organization as the only true religion, and many other things.

What did Russell believe about the Seventh-Day Adventists? We are providing some links below that related to this. Please note that "Adventist" is actually not necessarily a synonym for "Seventh-Day Adventist," although many may use as though it is. 

Related Links

Brother Russell's Own Historical Accounts (links to Russell's own historical accounts that never mention any association with the Seventh Day Adventists.

The Sabbath Day, by C. T. Russell

An Open Letter to a Seventh-Day Adventist  Presents a letter written by B. H. Barton and some questions answered.

Keeping the Sabbath - by C. T. Russell

Remember the Sabbath Day - by C. T. Russell

Millennial Dawn Misrepresented - by C. T. Russell

Seventh-Day Adventists' Fears - by C. T. Russell

Some of my own studies may be found at:

Biblical Covenants

Monday, March 20, 2017

JW Claims and Russell's Expectations Regarding 1914

One, in leaving the JW organization, has set forth many of his reasons for leaving that organization. We are not so concerned about all things that he has stated, but we are concerned about statements made pertaining to Charles Taze Russell. We do not entirely blame the author for his statements, since he probably was not very familiar with what Russell actually taught or believed when making the statements.

First, we will say that we are not associated with the Jehovah's Witnesses and do not defend that organization. What many of the Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as most other people, do not realize is that Charles Taze Russell was never associated with, nor did he believe in, such an organization as the "Jehovah's Witnesses." There were no "Jehovah's Witnesses" in the days of Russell. Russell did not believe in the same things that the JW leadership teaches, nor should Russell be held responsible for the JW leadership. Russell did not believe, and he spoke against the idea of "visible" organization such as Rutherford later created. See: What Did Russell Teach About "Organization" As Related to His Watch Tower?

The JW leadership is faulted for making false statements concerning what was being expected for 1914. A quote is given from Awake! 1973 January 22 p.8
Of all men used by God to prophesy, Jesus is outstanding. Based on what he said, along with the words of Daniel and John, Jehovah's witnesses pointed to the year 1914, decades in advance, as marking the start of "the conclusion of the system of things."
Those who are familiar with what Russell wrote know that it was not until 1904 that Russell came to the conclusion that the time of trouble was to begin, not end, in 1914. This was one decade -- not decades -- before 1914 had arrived. Before 1904, Russell had believed that the time of trouble was to end, not begin, in 1914.

There are also many other statements that have been made that would, in effect, rewrite history.
For instance, in 1954, we find this statement:
Why, then, do the nations not realize and accept the approach of this climax of judgment? It is because they have not heeded the world-wide advertising of Christ’s return and his second presence. Since long before World War I Jehovah’s witnesses pointed to 1914 as the time for this great event to occur. -- Watchtower, July 15, 1954, page 370.
According to this, long before World War I, "Jehovah's Witnesses" had pointed to 1914 as being when Jesus was to return. In fact, as far as we know, no one amongst the Bible Students was expecting Christ's return in 1914. Nevertheless, Russell was not expecting the parousia to begin in 1914; he believed that Christ had returned in 1874. Russell died in 1916, still holding to the belief that Christ had returned in 1874.

One is also left with the impression that the "Jehovah's witnesses" organization had been in existence "long before World War I". In fact, there was no such organization back then -- at least not among the Bible Students; Russell was still preaching against any centralized human authority until the day he died. Russell was certainly not the founder of any kind of organization that he preached against. It is not true, as has been claimed by the JW leadership, that there were "Jehovah's Witnesses" in Russell's day pointing to 1914 at all, since the Jehovah's Witnesses, their organization, and their peculiar beliefs, did not come into existence until after Russell died in 1916.

The JW leadership is faulted for stating that the JWs had predicted the last days to begin in 1914. As far we know, we don't know of anyone who was predicting that the "last days" were to begin in 1914. Russell believed in the "last days" from several different standpoints, depending on what scriptural reference is used. Although Russell expressed the thought several times that we are "in the last days" of the present age, we haven't as yet found any reference in which he definitely set forth specific dates for either the beginning or the ending of the "last days". Russell did point to 1799 as the beginning of the "time of the end," and he held to that view until the day that he died in 1916. If one associates the term "last days" as being the same thing as "time of the end", then one could say that Russell believed that the "last days" had begun in 1799. However, it is not true  -- at least after 1904 -- that Russell was expecting the days of the "time of the end" to be over in 1914. His later views (from 1904 onward) as to when the "time of the end" was to be fully accomplished -- to be ended -- does not give any specific date for its full ending, although several dates were suggested by different Bible Students along this line. Nevertheless, the specific point to be made is that Russell was not expecting the Gentile Powers to suddenly cease to exist in 1914, but that they would continue to exist for an unknown period of time after 1914.

Regarding Armageddon, what many do not realize is that Russell never believed in the "Armageddon" that the JWs preach at all. The idea that Jehovah is going to eternally destroy billions of men, women and children still in the blindness of Satan was totally foreign to Russell's way of thinking, since he believed in the "ransom for all." Thus, Russell viewed Armageddon as a period of time in which the peoples of the nations are chastised, not eternally destroyed. The modern JW viewpoint of "Armageddon" is often projected back on Russell, when, in reality, he did not believe what the JWs teach. He was certainly not expecting the general idea usually expressed by the term "the end of the world", nor was he expecting the JWs' visualization of "Armagedddon" in 1914. He did not believe in either.

Scripturally, one might consider that "Armageddon" includes more than just the battle of the Great Day, for it also includes the gathering leading up to that battle, with the battle itself as a the climax.
Russell, however, did speak of the Battle of Armageddon as "the final phase of the great Time of Trouble." (What Pastor Russell Said, Q:426:3)

The statement is made that "nothing Russell pointed to about 1914 has come to pass." Russell's thoughts concerning what he was expecting in 1914 have been so misrepresented that for many it is difficult to ascertain the truth. Most quotes from Russell's writings are taken from what he had written before 1904, and express his earlier views, and not the views that he had come to believe in 1904, ten years before 1914. Russell was not expecting "the end of all things" in 1914, but rather, at least from 1904 onward, he was expecting the "beginning" of the "time of trouble" in 1914, or soon after 1914, and that the Gentile Times would end in 1914. In 1904, Russell stated: "We now expect that the anarchistic culmination of the great time of trouble which will precede the Millennial blessings will be after October, 1914 A.D." (The Watch Tower, July 1, 1904, page 197, Reprints page 3389) In 1905, Russell stated: "The time of trouble, the awful time of anarchy, to our understanding, commences really there [in 1914], though like the dust of the whirlwind there will be and is now trouble preceding the awful anarchy. As to how long it will last I do not know, but I cannot imagine how it could last long." (What Pastor Russell Said, Q71:1) In 1910, Russell stated: "In the world of mankind, I shall expect a time of great trouble, which the Bible marks out as having its beginning about October, 1914, but I think, dear friends, that it is more important, instead of telling of the time of trouble, to tell about the good things." (What Pastor Russell Said, Q76:1) In other words, Brother Russell was definitely not expecting the end of all things in 1914, but rather the "beginning" of the time of trouble. We believe that he was right, and that we have been living in the period of the "time of trouble" ever since 1914. The climax of the trouble (the battle of the Great Day of God Almighty) has not yet come, however. We also believe that it is true that the lease for Gentile domination ran out in 1914, as he was expecting.  Because of this, we do not believe it is true that "nothing Russell pointed to about 1914 has come to pass." We believe that at least these two events did come to pass, as Russell had been predicting. Russell, however, disclaimed being a prophet, and stated that no one should view any of his writings as "prophecy".

Nevertheless, Russell did not believe that Armageddon would be fought to eternally destroy the unenlightened unbelievers, as in the JW teachings, but that it would rather be for the humbling of the unenlightened unbelievers in preparation for the blessings to be given in the age to follow. While our views are not entirely in agreement with Russell's, we are in general agreement with what Russell stated, as far as the purpose of Armageddon is concerned. Our study on the destruction at Armageddon may be found at: Will Billions Be Eternally Destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon?
See also: Russell's Expectations Concerning 1914 - Mostly related to Russell's change of viewpoint concerning the time of trouble, and gives many quotes that show, especially from 1904 up to 1914, what Russell was saying about his expectations.

Beginning of the Time of Trouble - Quotes From Russell - Gives some brief quotes from Russell to show that from 1904 onward Russell was expecting the time of trouble to begin, not end, in 1914.
The JW Organization, Armageddon, 1914, and Russell - Discusses several misconceptions that some have concerning what Russell taught about "organization", Armageddon, and 1914.
Was Russell Expecting the End of World in 1914? - Many may be surprised to learn that Russell was not expecting the end of the world in 1914.
End of the Word in 1914? - An examination of the claim that Russell was expecting the end of the world in 1914.
Related: The Watchtower's Self-Contradiction About the Ransom
Reply to “Witnesses Keeping the Faith”
Pastor Russell - His Life and Times

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Russell and the Year 1925

Sometimes we find statements that claim that Brother Russell expected this or that to happen in 1925. Actually, Russell had examined claims being made for 1925 and rejected those claims. I will give here a brief summary relating to Brother Russell and the year 1925:

1925 was one of the dates floating around among the Bible Students long before 1914.
Sometime before 1911, Brother Russell mentioned 1925 in an article he had written for the Overland Monthly regarding the Jews, entitled: "Their Sabbath and Jubilee". He stated:

Each cycle was forty-nine years, and its Jubilee, the fiftieth year. Seventy times this number would be 3,500 years. And this period measured from the time Israel entered Canaan marks the year 1925 as the time when the antitypical Jubilee will be due to begin. However, there is still another method of reckoning the matter, which, we believe, is the proper one, namely, to count nineteen cycles with their Jubilees partially observed totaling 950 years, and then to count the remaining fifty-one cycles as forty-nine years each, because the Jubilees were omitted. This would total 2499 years plus 950 years with Jubilees totaling 3449 years. This period of 3449 years reckoned from the entering of Canaan ends October, 1874.

It should be apparent that although he presented the year 1925, he also rejected that method of calculating the jubilee cycles in favor of the method that brings one to 1874.
Nevertheless, in 1911, Brother Russell presented -- without comment -- some work of Kal Kaup (Watch Tower, March 1911, pages 76,77) which includes calculations related to 1925:

At this point, one should note that Brother Russell often presented such views by others without comment, allowing the readers to make up their own mind concerning such views. This does not mean that Brother Russell was himself endorsing such views.
Nevertheless, some began to use these calculations to teach that the church would be glorified in 1925. The problem, however, was that some were evidently saying that this was Brother Russell's own view.
In 1915 (Watch Tower, July 1, 1915, page 207), Brother Russell presented a letter (without comment) from a brother signed "W. M. Wisdom" under the title of "False Reports Injurious". Brother Wisdom speaks of some who were claiming that Brother Russell had endorsed the claim that the church "will not be gathered until 1925". Brother Wisdom realized, however, that Brother Russell had NOT endorsed such a view.

In 1916, Brother Russell presented a letter (Watch Tower April 15, 1916, pages 126,127) from one who was concerned about some unnamed elder pointing to the year 1925 as being the view of Brother Russell. In giving his response concerning his own conclusions regarding 1925, Brother Russell stated:

We are not looking forward to 1925, nor to any other date.

Did Russell "Await the Rapture" On the Mount of Olives?

By Ronald R. Day, Senior, 
Restoration Light Bible Study Services, 
ResLight, RLBible

The claim is being made that Charles Taze Russell took his followers to the Mount of Olives to await the rapture that didn't happen.

Of course, Russell certainly did not take the thousands of Bible Students worldwide to the Mount of Olives at any time, nor do I know any reason that Russell would have for going to the Mount of Olives to wait "for an entrance into heaven".

Some are using the above picture taken in Palestine in April 1910 with the claim that some of the Bible Students went there to wait for the rapture. The picture appears the September 1, 1910 issue of the Watch Tower. An author on one site states:
I wonder how many Witnesses know that Russell and Rutherford journeyed to Jerusalem in 1910: the year they expected that all the “faithful” would be gathered to heaven 2. The photo below (from the Sept. 1910 Watchtower, page 282 - click to enlarge) shows them posing on a fitting spot: the Mount of Olives (where Jesus supposedly ascended into heaven.) This seems to suggest that they were expecting to be carried bodily up into heaven. But Russell was not a believer in a physical “rapture” into heaven (made popular in recent times by other Christian fundamentalists and the Left Behind series of books): he thought the faithful had to die first in order to be “instantly with the Lord.”3
I wonder how long they waited before they dejectedly returned to America; depressed that they were still alive on Earth: their hopes dashed.
The author of the above does not mention that the picture was taken in April of 1910. If by "bodily" above, the author means physically, the author is correct: Russell was not expecting a "rapture" of physical bodies being taken to heaven. He believed that all the "saints" would have to die physically and be changed in the resurrection.

However, regarding April of 1910: The problem is that I do not know of anytime that Russell ever wrote or spoke of any expectaion that the remainder of the 144,000 would be glorified in April of 1910. Russell had earlier presented the possiblity that one of the measurements of Great Pyramid that points to October (not April) of 1910 may indicate that the remainder of the saints could be changed at that time, but he also pointed out that there is no Biblical verification for October of 1910.

Russell wrote regarding this in Thy Kingdom Come, pages 363,364:
How long this sifting of the consecrated will last, during which some will be granted the crowns of those adjudged unworthy, and their names written instead of some whose names will be blotted out (Rev. 3:5,11), the Scriptures do not, so far as we have yet seen, indicate; but this date, 1910, indicated by the Pyramid, seems to harmonize well with the dates furnished by the Bible. It is but a few years before the full close of the time of trouble which ends the Gentile times; and when we remember the Lord's words — that the overcomers shall be accounted worthy to escape the severest of the trouble coming upon the world we may understand the reference to be to the anarchous trouble which will follow October, 1914; but a trouble chiefly upon the Church may be expected about 1910 A.D.
The above was actually written before Russell's change of viewpoint regarding the time of trouble in 1904, in which he had come to the conclusion that the time of trouble was not end in 1914, but rather that it was to begin in 1914.

At any rate, it appears to be someone's imagination that has connected that picture taken in April of 1910 with the idea that Russell and his companions were on that trip went there "to await the rapture."

Evidently, however, some amongst the Bible Students had thought that the spring of 1910 was significant. Apparently, early in 1910, before spring had come, someone asked Brother Russell:
A thought is being advanced among the friends that the work will close next spring. Do you find any Scriptural proof for such thought, and are you in sympathy with the advancing of such theory?
Brother Russell's reply was:
I do not find any ground for such a thought. I am not in sympathy with the advancement of such a theory. I think it would be far better for the dear friends not to speculate about things of which they have no knowledge. At least, I will say that I think I would do best not to speculate about things of which I have no knowledge. If they have any knowledge on this subject, they have some knowledge I do not have, and if they are sure that they have knowledge, of course to their own Master they are responsible for the using of it. But so far as I can see, dear friends, discussing such matters as that merely takes away from the friends opportunities for usefulness, and we would far better stop talking about such things and be busily engaged in the harvest work, doing what we can do, never minding whether it is going to stop next spring or not. I will tell you next spring how it will be. In the meantime, as far as I can see, we all have plenty to do. Do not anybody stop for lack of work. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Q320:1
Brother Russell was also asked:
What event is to take place in 1910, which is pointed out in the Pyramid?
Brother Russell's Reply:
I do not know. There are many people who can tell you a great deal more about 1910, 1911, 1912 and 1913 than I can. All I know is there are certain dates that seem to be well fixed as far as we understand the Scriptures -- 1874, 1878, 1881 and October, 1914. I do not know about anything between at all. If other people do, they have a right to talk about it.
But do you not say something in the third volume of Scripture studies about 1910? Yes, I said we might take a measurement up over that step. We do not know whether there is anything to be measured that way or not, but suppose we do take a measurement over the top of that step: It would indicate about the year 1910. But I do not know whether God meant something to be marked for 1910 or not. I think by the time we have passed that time, we might see something perhaps for 1910. Perhaps we have gotten up on that step now, for all I know. Things are going along pretty rapidly just now, dear friends. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Q77:2.
Thus, it appears that Russell had little, if any, hopes regarding either the spring or fall of 1910.

Some, however, have imaginatively misrepresented the matter even futher by mistakenly claiming that the picture was takem in October of 1914. An author on one site has produced a totally false history regarding the picture taken in April of 1910, and with the claim that it was taken in 1914, and states such as having been fact:
In 1914 the Watchtower were expecting great things. The Watchtower believed that their work on earth had been completed and 1914 would be the year that they would experience the “Rapture”, whereby all true Christians are taken from Earth by God into Heaven before other events associated with the end of the world take place. They believed in this so much that in 1914 the Watchtower organized a trip to Jerusalem so that they would be first to experience the Rapture.
Similar statements have been presented in various forums online.

Of course, in reality, no such trip to Jerusalem took place in 1914; indeed, on October 2, 1914, Russell was in Brooklyn, where he gave his famous announcement at the Bethel breakfast table that the Gentile Times had ended. If the picture had been taken in Palestine on October 1 (as some have claimed) of 1914, in those days, it would have been impossible for Russell to be in Brooklyn the next day.

Additionally, Russell had no expectations of the "end of the world" for 1914 and he had plainly stated such.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Russell and Only Channel -- Comments and Resources

This page presents some searches of Russell's works relative to the claims being made that Russell believed in the sole channel of communication doctrine that was actually later developed by the JW leadership. Please note that the searches are not perfect, so we are providing searches of several sites, and eventually, God willing, we will provide searches by other search engines. Thus, between the various searches provided, what one doesn't pick up, in most cases another search, either through a different search engine, or on another site, will pick it up. Also one should note that some of these searches may produce many things written by others than Russell, so one should take great care to notice if a result given is actually written by Russell, or if it was written by someone else.


Many claim that Russell taught that he or his WTS was God's only channel for salvation, or the only channel by which one could be a Christian. Russell did on at least one occasion speak of his "friends" who believed that only one channel would be used by God to dispense food in due season, and he concluded this to be reasonable. He stated, "Our friends insist that this Scripture indicates that in the end of this Gospel Age the Lord would use not many channels for the dissemination of the Truth, but one channel, and that it would be the privilege of others of the Lord's faithful ones to be 'fellow-servants' (co-laborers)." (Watch Tower, October 1, 1909, page 292) He was not, however, by presenting these views of his friends, setting this up as some kind of dogma. These statements certainly do not amount to the claims that we find today for the JW leadership. Nevertheless, by taking quotes out of context and placing them in the context of later claims made by Rutherford and later JW leadership, some of what Russell wrote may be easily misrepresented as though he had been claiming the same thing that the JW leadership of today claims for itself.

Russell never claimed that one had to come to him in order to be a Christian; he did not believe in such an idea. He did believe that what he had written was in harmony with the light of the scripture, and thus, if one is not in harmony with what he wrote, then to that extent he was in darkness. Indeed, no author should be writing anything that he considered to not be harmony with the Bible, and if any Christian writes anything, or says anything, that he believes to be in harmony with the light of the scriptures, that then anyone who is not in harmony with what that Christian said, is to that extent, in some darkness.

Russell never claimed that one had to agree with him, or else that they would go into the second death; this was a teaching that Rutherford later promoted.

Russell, in his belief that God was using the WTS as a channel, was not stating that he believed that the Bible Students movement was an organization; however, many of his "friends" were, in effect, reaching what could be thought to be such a conclusion, and were thus advocating what could be called a visible organization with Russell at its head. Russell, himself, refused to recognize himself as holding any authority over the Bible Students, or the many congregations of Bible Students. He believed that his service as pastor should be to serve, not rule, or demand others to be in subjection to himself.

Russell did NOT believe in such an organization such as Rutherford created after Russell died; this is supported by the actual recorded historical facts. Russell's WTS actually ceased to exist when Rutherford usurped authority and when Rutherford rejected the WTS as Russell had intended for it to be, and had it restructured to suit his aims. The WTS, as formed by Russell and his associates, was not the Bible Students, nor was it a "religious organization" such as the JW organization. It was a legal business organization, and was not meant to be a means of ruling over, or seeking authority over, anyone. It definitely was never intended to be used as organization to which one must come for salvation.

In 1915, Russell stated: "There would be nothing to come out of, as an organization, if one is an International Bible Student." (ZWT, July 15, 1915, page 219) This shows that in 1915, Russell still did not believe the Bible Students to be an organization such as the JWs. This began to change in 1916, after Russell's death, when Rutherford began to insidiously promote in the Watch Tower the idea of "organization", which finally became "Jehovah's visible organization". By 1928, however, the vast majority of the Bible Students had rejected Rutherford's "Jehovah's visible organization" dogma; they did not take the name, "Jehovah's Witnesses", although less than 25% did bow to Rutherford's leadings and thus a comparatively few of the Bible Students did take the name "Jehovah's Witnesses".

It is claimed that Russell formulated the doctrine of being a sole mouthpiece, and that the JWs continue use that doctrine to this day. Russell never formulated any dogma of being a sole mouthpiece for God who is to have authority over the household. Indeed, Russell never agreed that he -- himself -- was the faithful and wise servant. He seemed to believe that it was the WTS itself, not him personally, that was fulfilling the role of the faithful and wise servant. This does not mean that he believed, or supported, the idea that the WTS held authority over anyone, or that the "faithful and wise servant" was to hold authority over anyone. In 1916, he plainly stated: "Let it be borne in mind that the Society exercises no authority, makes no criticism, but merely gives advice; and that in the interest of the Lord's Cause and the Lord's people." (Watch Tower, August 1916, page 248) Russell, although reluctant to discuss the "faithful and wise servant", seemed to lean toward the idea that it was Watch Tower Society itself, but note what he stated in 1909:
QUESTION (1909)--2--Please explain the words of Jesus, "But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow~servants." (Mat. 23:48,49.)
ANSWER.--We understand that a certain servant which the Lord would use at the end of this age, whether you like to call it a class or an individual, whatever it is, if the servant shall prove wicked and shall lose his relationship to the Lord, then we should expect that that servant would be cut off from his relationship to the Lord. One evidence of his being displaced and put out of commission is this: He would begin to smite his fellow-servants and to deny the presence of the Lord. He would lose the spirit of Christ and the truth respecting the presence of the Lord. It does not say that it will be so, but "And if he should." It implies that when the Lord selects a servant, it is upon condition that he remain in the Lord's favor and in harmony with Him, and if he does not, then thus and so shall follow.
As we stated, many Bible Students were, in effect, even in the days of Russell, advocating what one could call an "visible organization", with Russell at its center; nevertheless, Russell himself consistently refused to take any authority over any congregation or the Bible Students in general until the day he died. However, many Bible Students had come to consider him to be "the authority" being used by Jesus. Russell did acknowledge that his "friends" viewed him or the WTS as "one special channel" chosen by God; at the same time he held that neither he nor the WTS held any authority over any of the Bible Students. He never sought to force anyone to believe that he or the WTS was "the faithful and wise servant". He did believe that the WTS was being used in a special way by God; he also believed that if he or the WTS should prove to be the "evil servant" that the true Christian should recognize this by the manner of beating his fellow-servants. Of course, this, in effect, was what Rutherford began to do after Russell died, by his disfellowshiping anyone who disagreed with him.

Notwithstanding, this does not mean that we have to agree with any view regarding the "faithful and wise servant" that Russell presented, or that his "friends" presented. Nor, do we see any need to try to defend everything Russell stated or taught. We do not agree with all of Russell's conclusions, nor do we see how any true Bible Student could do so (such would end in self-contradiction).
Bible Students Did Not Become Jehovah's Witnesses
The Faithful and Wise Servant and Other Servants

 Below we present a Google search of Russell's writings for the phrase "only channel."
  CLICK HERE to search the writings of Russell for the phrase "only channel" on the site using Google.
  CLICK HERE to search the writings of Russell for the phrase "only channel" on the AGS Consulting site using Google.

ONLY AUTHORITY One should note how many times Russell pointed to Jesus, the apostles and the Bible as the "only authority." He never pointed to himself, his writings, or to the Watch Tower Society as being the "only authority".
  CLICK HERE for a Google search for the prhase "only authority".
  CLICK HERE for a Google search of the agsconsulting site for the phrase "only authority."
  CLICK HERE to search mostholyfaith using Google.
See: Who Did Russell Actually Believe to be the "Only Authority" In the Church?

SOLE CHANNEL Russell never used the expression "sole channel" at all.

CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION Although Russell used this expression a few times, he never used the phrase to express that either he or the Watch Tower was the only channel of communication from God.
CLICK HERE to search with Google.
CLICK HERE to search agsconsulting with Google
CLICK HERE to search mostholyfaith with Google

  GOVERNING BODY Russell rarely used that expression, but the times that he did use it show that he did not believe in a "governing body" like one finds in the Jehovah's Witnesses' organization.
CLICK HERE to search using Google.

Russell did, at least when he wrote Volume 4 of his Studies in the Scriptures, state:
Dispensing of Food to the Household
--Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46--
  "Who then is the faithful and prudent servant, whom his Master has placed over his household to give them food in due season? Happy that servant whom his Master, on coming, shall find thus employed! Indeed I say to you that he will appoint him over all his stores of provisions." Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46 The intimation here seems to be, that at the particular time indicated by the prophecy--namely, during the Lord's presence, and at the time of the gathering of the elect--our Lord, the great Servant of his people, will make choice of one channel for dispensing the meat in due season, though other channels or "fellow-servants" will be used in bringing the food to the "household." But the servant is merely a steward, and liable to be removed at any moment, should he fail to fully and duly acknowledge in every particular, the Master--the great Servant of God and his people--"the Messenger of the Covenant"--Christ. Faithfulness on the part of said steward (both to the "Master" and to "his fellow-servants" and "the household") will be rewarded by his continuance as steward; so long as he serves faithfully, he may continue, and may serve the household of faith with things new and old--meat in due season--to the end; bringing forth all the precious things of divine provision. But if unfaithful he will be deposed entirely and put into outer darkness, while presumably another would take the place, subject to the same conditions. To our understanding this would not imply that "that servant" or steward, used as a channel for the circulation of the "meat in due season," would be the originator of that meat, nor inspired, nor infallible. Quite to the contrary, we may be sure that whoever the Lord will so use, as a truth-distributing agent, will be very humble and unassuming, as well as very zealous for the Master's glory; so that he would not think of claiming authorship or ownership of the truth, but would merely dispense it zealously, as his Master's gift, to his Master's "servants" and "household."
Elsewhere, Russell applied this to the Watch Tower Society itself, or the entire association of Bible Students. This still falls short of the claims of a "sole channel" in the terms of the authority that the Jehovah's Witnesses leadership claims for themselves.

Our understanding of the above parable is different, however, than what Russell presented:
See: The Faithful and Wise Servant and Other Servants
Parable of the Four Servants — Luke 12:42-48

  CLICK HERE to search Russell's works for the expression "true religion" on the site, using Google.

 TRUE CHURCH CLICK HERE to search Russell's works for the expression, "true church". ========
See also: Russell and "God's Mouthpiece"

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Russell's Death on Halloween and Alleged Toga Scene

One has claimed that "they found him dead aboard a train in Texas Halloween night (devils night)"

I am not sure who "they" are supposed to have "found him dead". Menta Sturgeon was with Brother Russell when he died. The fact that he died on what is considered Halloween day is irrelevant, not unless one believes that no servant of God could possibly die on that night, or that everyone who dies on Halloween night must be evil. All days and nights belong to God; no day or night become something evil in itself because what some may observe on any day or night.

However, Russell died on October 31 in the early afternoon, before Halloween actually began. He did not die on Halloween night. Halloween begins at sundown, and begins the New Year's day as celebrated by the Druids.

It is claimed that "they" found him wrapped in a toga; other claim that Russell asked to be buried in a toga. Again, I am not sure who "they" is that is supposed to have found him wrapped in a toga. Russell, however did not asked to be buried in a toga.

Menta Sturgeon is recorded as reporting that Brother Russell found that the blankets that were wrapped around him were uncomfortable. Sturgeon claims, that although Russell's words were hard to understand, that Brother asked for a toga. Sturgeon reported that he did not understand what Brother Russell was requesting, so brother Russell took 2 bed sheets, pinned them together to fit over his shoulders and hung them over his shoulders. I highly doubt that he was asking for a "toga", or if he did so, I highly doubt that he did so with any idea of some kind of religious significance. More than likely Brother Russell was just simply trying to find some comfortable way to keep warm. Sturgeon reported, "How much Brother Russell may have understood or meant by these movements we may not surely know." But then Sturgeon gave own conclusions. I suspect that Sturgeon may have also been influenced by Rutherford to report the incident as having some kind of religious significance.. Sturgeon's report may be found online at: