Sunday, June 25, 2017

The First WTS President

Most people generally say that Charles Taze Russell was the first president and founder of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Actually, the first president was William H. Conley, and the C. T. Russell served as secretary and treasurer during Conley’s brief presidency. When the Society was formally incorporated legally, Russell was named as president, and it is only concerning the “legal” corporation that one could speak of Russell as the first president.

The following is from Wikipedia:

Bethel Home Mission
The Conleys frequently held prayer meetings and events in their home ministry.[1] The Conley home was sometimes kept open for weeks at a time in support of religious and charity efforts.[4][5] According to Zion’s Watch Tower, annual celebrations of the Memorial of Christ’s death were held at the Conleys’ home. Conley’s home mission was described as Bethel (literally, “house of God”). The first recorded mention of Bethel in association with Conley appeared in 1890, in reference to the missionary house of Miss Lucy Dunne, established by William and Sarah Conley in Jerusalem.[8]
Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society

Conley was the first president of Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, from 1881 to 1884. In December 1884, the Society was incorporated with Charles Taze Russell as president.
In 1896, the Society was renamed Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and later became associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
While president of the Society, Conley provided assistance for the three-volume series, Theocratic Kingdom by George N. H. Peters; Peters dedicated the work partially to Conley, claiming to be “deeply indebted for sympathy and pecuniary aid in the prosecution and publication of the work.” However, the May 1883 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower criticized Peters’ work, recommending that readers not purchase the title.
In 1894, Russell introduced a letter from Conley by briefly referencing him as “a member of the early Allegheny Bible Class.” Following Conley’s death in July 1897, Zion’s Watch Tower provided no obituary, nor any statement that specifically mentioned his name and his involvement with the Society.


The above appears to be fairly accurate, except for the reference to Peters’ “Theocratic Kingdom”: the statement that “Zion’s Watch Tower” recommended “that readers not purchase the title” is not accurate. Russell never recommended that anyone purchase or not purchase Peters' books. He simply gave his assessment and left it up to each individual as far as purchasing the books. He even provided information about where to purchase the books.

One should note, however, the Watch Tower Society during the lifetime of Brother Russell was not the  JWs' "Watchtower organization" of today. Russell did not believe in such an organization and preached against such authoritarianism. Russell's WTS virtually ceased to exist shortly after Russell died, as Rutherford deceitfully had new by-laws passed that, in effect, destroyed the WTS that Russell had created.

The Theocratic Kingdom

This is related a series of books entitled The Theocractic Kingdom, by George N. H. Peters. Brother Russell was acquainted with Peters, and spoke highly of him, although Russell thought Peters had not gotten rid of some the “shackles” of “Bayblon”. Russell wrote comments of Peter’s The Theocratic Kingdom, and provided information about those books. Lately, however, it is being circulated around that “the May 1883 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower criticized Peters’ work, recommending that readers not purchase the title.” Quotes are given, which on the surface, appear to support this statement; and yet, if one reads what Russell wrote in May 1883 concerning Peter’s books, we do not find any place where he recommended either that one should or should not purchase this series of books. Here is the entire notice that appeared in the May 1883 Watch Tower:

THE THEOCRATIC KINGDOM.
Brother G. N. H. Peters, of Springfield, Ohio, is an old acquaintance and friend. He is a believer in the redemptive work of Christ, and hence a Christian brother. He is a believer in the future reign of Christ and the saints, for which cause sake he has suffered the loss of some things — some of the esteem of the nominal church. We regret to have it to state, however, that he is not free from Babylon’s shackles, being yet identified with the Lutheran sect — hence has been hindered from a fuller development in grace and knowledge of the word and plan of God than if he stood in the full liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.
Our brother has spent a large part of the past thirty years in preparing a very comprehensive work on Eschatology, entitled – -“THE THEOCRATIC KINGDOM.” It treats of the kingdom of God to be established, from the standpoint known as “Premillenarian.” It gives voluminous reports of the hundreds of views entertained on this subject — advocating in the main the so-called “Pre-millenarian” view. While the author does not ignore the teachings of the Apostles, he lays greater stress and value on the opinions of the “Fathers” (the Christian teachers of the first five centuries) than we could acknowledge as proper.
The work will comprise three volumes of about 600 pages each. The publisher says that the price should be $5 per volume, but if sufficient orders — or promises at $3 per volume — are received in advance to justify, then that will be the price.
While we cannot recommend it to you more than as above, to briefly state the facts and circumstances, yet if you should conclude to order it or a prospectus of it you should address our brother and friend as above.

See this series of books online at:

Friday, June 23, 2017

Parousia “Didn’t Happen” in 1874?

An author has posted the following on a website:

1897 “Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874,” (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 4, p. 621). Oops, didn’t happen. Present day JW’s said this was going to happen in 1914. When that didn’t occur, they said it did happen only it was an invisible return.

The first line of the page from which the above quote is taken as well as the title of the page lets the reader know that the page is about Charles Taze Russell. Thus, when reference is made to the JWs, the evident assumption is that it is referring to Russell as allegedly representing the JWs, although actually, Russell never wrote anything at all on behalf of such an organization.

However, the author of the above is evidently very confused, and has not actually investigated the facts, or else desires to misrepresent the facts.

From the way the above is worded, it appears that the author is assuming, or at least wishing to leave others with the assumption, that before 1874, Charles Taze Russell, allegedly representing the Jehovah’s witnesses, had predicted that Christ was to return in 1874, and when that didn’t happen, then Charles Taze Russell, allegedly representing Jehovah’s Witnesses, had predicted that Christ would return in 1914, and then, when that didn’t happen, that then Russell, allegedly represented the Jehovah’s Witnesses, then claimed Christ returned invisibility in 1914.

First, Charles Taze Russell was never a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor did he speak for any organization such as the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Russell did not believe in, and preached against, the kind of authoritarianism that Rutherford promoted after Russell died.

Furthermore, we wish to note Charles Taze Russell never predicted Christ to return in 1874. It was not until 1876, two years after 1874, that Russell came to the conclusion that Christ had already returned invisibly in 1874. This has been discussed before, so we give the link to that discussion:

http://rlctr.blogspot.com/2016/11/end-world.html

http://ctrussell.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/predicted-end-of-the-world-in-1874/

There was no “Jehovah’s Witnesses” organization before 1914, and Charles Taze Russell was never associated with an organization that he did not believe in. Thus, despite the fact that the JWs often project their organization as having existed in the days of Russell, all such references to “Jehovah’s Witnesses” before 1916, or in the days of Russell, are actually invalid. This has been discussed before in the following :
http://rlctr.blogspot.com/2016/12/jws.html

The statement is made that “Present day JW’s said this was going to happen in 1914,” speaking in reference to Christ’s return. This leaves the implication of two false assumptions, (1) that there were JWs before 1914 and (2) that those JWs were saying that Christ would return in 1914. As already noted, there were no JWs in the days of Russell; that organization did not exist then. Furthermore, we do not know of anyone among the Bible Students who was predicting that Christ was to return in 1914. Charles Taze Russell certainly wasn’t; Russell believed until the day that he died that Christ had already returned in 1874. He never spoke of Christ as returning in 1914.

The statement is made: “When that didn’t occur, they said it did happen only it was an invisible return.” This is in reference to an alleged idea that someone representing the “present-day Jehovah’s Witnesses” had been proclaiming that Christ was to return in 1914. Thus, the allegation is that since Christ did not return in 1914 as expected, then they (evidently someone is allegedly supposed to have been representing the JWs) claimed that he had returned invisibly in 1914. The implication is that in 1914, Russell, when he realized that Christ had did not come visibly in 1914, then in  1914, claimed that Christ had returned invisibly. The fact is: (1) Russell, nor anyone else that we know of associated with the Bible Students movement, was claiming that Christ was to return in 1914; (2) Russell had taught ever since 1876 that Christ had already returned invisibly in 1874; he never spoke one word about Christ returning either visibly or invisibly in 1914. Of course, many years after Russell died, Joseph Rutherford did change the date from 1874 to 1914 for the invisible return of Christ, but this change was not because of an alleged failure for Christ to return visibly in 1914. Indeed, it appears to be more related to Rutherford’s desire to use the time prophecies related 1874 to gain support for his new organization dogma.

We, however, have no reason to say concerning 1874: “Oops, didn’t happen!” We believe that the evidence gives us reason to believe that it did happen — that is, that the parousia did begin in 1874. In The Watch Tower, January 15, 1912, Brother Russell stated, “We do not affirm, dogmatically, that He came in 1874, but we say that to us it is the evident teaching of the Scriptures.” This is similar to many other statements that Brother Russell stated over the years. He did not believe that the years 1874 or the year 1914 should be viewed as dogma. Like Brother Russell, we also conclude that the evidence suggests that Christ did return in 1874, but this is not something that we would be dogmatic about.

Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures may be found online at:
http://www.ctrussell.us/ctrussell/ctrussell.nsf/ScriptureStudies?OpenView

Paul S. L. Johnson's editions are online at:
https://www.biblestandard.com/studies.html

Jonas Wendell’s 1870 Presentation


In 1870, at age eighteen, he cautiously attended a presentation by the famous Adventist preacher, Jonas Wendell. Wendell focused on what Russell considered to be rational, logical matters relating to Biblical prophecy and chronology, drawing attention to the future date of 1874 as the supposed date for Christ’s return.

We have seen this statement or similar statements repeated, even among the Bible Students. However, as stated, we cannot verify this with what Russell actually wrote, and what he did write would seem to contradict the thought that Wendell spoke on  the Lord’s return in 1873 (later changed to 1874) that night. Russell did say that Wendell aroused his interest in Christ's return, as he stated, "though he first awakened my interest on the subject, I was not a convert, either to the time he suggested nor to the events he predicted. I, in company with others in Pittsburgh, organized and maintained a bible class for the searching of the Scriptures, meeting every Sunday."

Thus, Russell states that up the 1876,
we persistently ignored time and looked with pity upon Mr. Thurman's and Mr. Wendel's ideas. (The latter was preaching the same time as Bro. Barbour; viz: The burning of the world in 1873.) We regarded those ideas as unworthy of consideration.See:
http://rlctr.blogspot.com/2016/11/supplement.html
wherein Russell describes those years.

Some leave the idea that Russell around 1869 or 1870, by having chanced upon Wendell’s presentation, came to be believe at that time that Christ’s return was to be in 1873/4, which definitely disagrees with what Russell himself stated in the supplement to the first issue of the Watch Tower in 1879, for in that supplement he plainly states that he did not accept the return of Christ as related to 1874 until the year 1876, and this was two years after 1874.

The concern is that the statements that are often being presented leaves the impression that Russell, due to coming to believe that Christ was to return in 1874, had his faith in the Bible restored, which does not appear to be the true case as he states. Many also make it appear that Russell became a follower of Jonas Wendell around 1869, which is definitely not true. While we suppose that it is possible that Wendell have have been speaking on some aspects of  the Lord’s return, it should be evident that Russell did not accept Wendell’s views of Christ’s return in 1873 (changed to 1874) until 1876, two years after 1874. Up until 1876, as he stated, he “persistently ignored time and looked with pity upon Mr. Thurman’s and Mr. Wendel’s ideas.”

Many often also go on to misrepresent what happened in 1876, when they make it appear that he then came to believe that Christ's return is invisible because of the word "parousia", and Barbour's explanation of that word. While usage of the word "parousia" in the Bible does support the that his parousia beginning before the world recognizes that presence, Russell states this is in agreement with his conclusion which he had reached around 1872, about two years before 1874, that is, that since Jesus had sacrificed his flesh for sin, he was not raised in the flesh, but in the spirit, and thus Jesus returns in the spirit, not in the flesh.

Was Russell the Founder of a False Religion?

It is being claimed that Charles Taze Russell was “the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses,” under the heading, “Jehovah’s Witnesses: False Religion.” In truth, Charles Taze Russell was not the founder of the religion known as “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” He did not believe in such an organization, nor did he believe in the teachings of this religion. He was certainly not the founder of that which he did not believe in. Another has posted in the christianchat forum that Russell was the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and provides a link to this page that falsely states that we are defending that devil, Charles Taze Russell.

Russell was certainly not the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization.

First, Russell was a non-sectarian who did not believe in such a sectarian organization. Russell preached against the sectarian kind of spirit that prevails amongst the JW organization. Russell, while he did not believe in denominationalism or sectarianism, believed and taught that true Christians may be found amongst all denominations and sects that profess to be Christian.

Second, Russell did not believe in the kind of authoritarianism that the leadership of the JWs claim. He certainly never employed the “mind control” techniques used the by the JW leadership. Russell believed that the only authority in the church is Jesus and the apostles.

Third, Russell did not believe in the message of eternal doom for unbelievers that the JWs preach. Indeed, Russell believed that all unbelievers would enlightened with the truth. Russell did not teach or believe in the kind of Armageddon that is preached by the Jehovah’s Witnesses; indeed, he preached against similar teaching that existed in his day. Russell believed that Armageddon was a period of time of trouble in which the peoples of the nations were to be chastised in preparation for the blessings of God’s Kingdom.

Russell was therefore certainly not the founder of that which he did not believe in, and which he preached against.

Indeed, Russell himself never thought of himself as the “founder” of any religion; he claimed Christ as the founder of the religion that he believed in, that is, Biblical Christianity.

It is claimed that because of Russell’s “questionable character”, the Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer look at Russell as the founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Officially, the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” leadership claim that their religion goes all the way back to Abel. Individually, however, one might hear some the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” refer to the Charles Taze Russell as their founder, or as the “modern-day” founder of their religion. However, we are not aware that any of them would “no longer” claim him as their founder because of an alleged “questionable  character” that is falsely attributed to Russell. Nevertheless, the JW leadership does highly discourage study of Russell’s writings, with the claim that it is “old light.” We highly suspect that the real reason is that Russell’s writings would expose much of the teachings of the JW leadership as being false.

It is claimed that Russell actually predicted the coming of Christ on two occasions. One claims:

Russell calculated that Jesus was to return visibly in 1874. When the 1874 came and went with no sign of Jesus, Russell then changed his calculations to the date 1914…. When 1914 came and went with no sign of Jesus, Russell then interpreted Jesus’ second coming as an “invisible” return, or in spirit.

This, of course, is totally false. Others have claimed that Russell predicted Christ’s return many times, when he actually never “predicted” Christ to return even once. Indeed, most knowledgeable Bible Students would laugh at the idea that Russell “predicted” Christ’s return, since anyone familiar with the writings of Russell knows that Russell never “predicted” the coming of Christ on any date at all. The entire claim that Russell predicted that Christ was to return in 1874 is FALSE, since, until 1876 — two years after 1874, Russell had no interest in the dates that were being set by various “adventists.” In 1876, however, he became interested in some material that was presenting Christ as having already come invisibly in 1874, which made his acceptance that Christ had returned to be two years after 1874 had passed. It was not until then that Russell had any interest in the year 1874. Since this was two years after 1874, Russell never predicted any coming of Christ in 1874. Thus, it should be apparent that Russell, before 1874, never “agreed with the Adventists’ predictions that Christ would return during 1873—1874“, as another site claims.

It is claimed that when Christ did not come in 1874 as Russell had allegedly predicted (which, in fact, Russell never predicted Christ to return in 1874), that Russell then changed the date to 1914. Both claims are in error. It would have Russell allegedly giving up on the year 1874 as the year of Christ’s return, something which he never did. Until the day he died, he continued in the belief that Christ had returned in 1874, and never at all changed his mind on that from 1876 until his death. Russell never gave any other date except 1874 for the return Christ! Thus, the claim that he predicted Christ was to return in 1914 is ludicrous, to say the least. Russell definitely never changed his conclusion that Christ had returned in 1874 to 1914 or any other date. Thus, the claim made on one site that when Russell’s alleged prediction 1874 failed, he “predicted more times for Jesus’ return-all of which proved to be false, of course“, is of itself a misrepresentation of what Russell taught and believed. Another falsely claims that Russell was expecting “the visible second coming of Christ in 1914“. Another claims: “Charles Taze Russell predicted Christ’s invisible return in 1874, followed by anticipation of his Second Coming in 1914.” Of course, as we have shown, Russell never “predicted” Christ to return in 1874, nor have found any place where he ever wrote about a visible second coming of Christ in 1914.

It is claimed that Russell lied under oath, which claim is also false. We will not discuss this in detail here; please see:

http://tinyurl.com/4ocwz
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/history/gr8%20battle.htm
http://www.pastor-russell.com/life/lie1.html

The true founder of the religion known as “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was Joseph Rutherford. Rutherford, after Russell died, used deceit and legal trickery to gain control of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society as a basis to form his new religion which he later called “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” You will not find any reference in Russell’s writings to a Watch Tower organization, and certainly not of an organization that Rutherford conceived after Russell died. Russell refused to usurp any authority over anyone (except as that which had been given to him as the President of the Watch Tower Society itself, which pertained only the internal affairs of he Watch Tower Socieity, not external matters of the lives of individuals who were external to the Watch Towe Socieity. That Russell was still maintaining this belief until he died can be seen from his statement in The Watch Tower, August 15, 1916, page 248:

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.

Almost immediately after Russell died, however, Rutherford and his followers began to instill the concept of an “organization” in connection with the Watch Tower Society. (See the Watch Tower issues of December of 1916).

Some other points that others have presented:

Some claim that “Russell came to the conclusion that Christianity was not the correct way to understand the Bible.” Is this true? No; Russell did believe that man’s self-proclaimed orthodoxy was wrong in its approach to the Bible; he did say anything against “Christianity” itself.

Links to other sites that are presenting similar false information related to the above: 1 * 2

See also:

How the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Organization Was Created
Bible Students Did Not Become Jehovah’s Witnesses
JW Claims and Russell’s Expectation Regarding 1914
Russell’s Changes to the Scripture Studies
Russell and the Great Pyramid
Russell’s “Divorce”
Response to J. J. Ross
Russell and Miracle Wheat
Response to How to Show that Jesus is Not the Archangel Michael
The (Alleged) Facts on Jehovah’s Witnesses

CTR’s Expectations Concerning 1914

Many statements have been made to the effect that all of Charles Taze Russell’s expectations concerning 1914 were a failure. However, for those familiar with Russell’s writings, it is obvious that what is being said is not entirely true. Yes, not all Russell expected for 1914 came to pass, but his main expectation, that the “time of trouble” was to begin in 1914, we believe did come true.

The truth is that Russell was not expecting all human governments to be immediately overthrown in 1914. Russell did make some statements of which he later acknowledged that he was wrong, but this does not mean that the year 1914 itself was a failure. His expectations concerning the “change” of the church by 1914 or end of 1915 and the New Covenant established with Israel by end of the 1915 did fail. He expected the harvest to end in 1914 (or 1915), but after 1914 he believed that the harvest had not ended. These expectations did not come true in 1914, but other expectations did come true. He also expected that anarchy would set in, especially upon the nations called “Christendom”, by the end of 1915. Of course, Russell never claimed to be making “prophecies”, nor did he claim that the calculations he presented were infallible. Indeed, he disclaimed such many times, and even cautioned several times that he could be wrong concerning what was expected at 1914 or 1915.

The events of and following World War I saw the ascendancy of Israel to political autonomy and eventual life as a nation, one of the major steps in the setting up of God’s kingdom. The year 1917 saw the ousting of the Turks from Jerusalem by General Allenby, and Britain’s commitment, through the Balfour Declaration, to establish a homeland for the Jewish people. The Land of Israel reappeared on the world political map.

Did we see the full establishment of God’s Kingdom in 1914/1915? What exactly did Russell expect regarding this? Russell believed that the full setting up of the earthly phase of God’s kingdom would follow the time of trouble that was to begin in 1914; he had stated that he did not know how long that the time of trouble would last, but that he “expected” it to be over shortly after 1914, probably by the end of 1915. He was short-sighted in this regard, but this does not do away with the overall picture.

Please note that we don’t defend each and every statement that Russell said (nor do we believe Russell himself would do so), and Russell himself said over and over all throughout his ministry that his expectations were not infallible, and that he could be wrong on the some things expected at certain certain dates.

Nevertheless, when viewed from God’s standpoint, we are still “shortly after” 1914. Although Russell himself did not think the time of trouble would be this long, he did allow that it could be. Some Bible Students believe that it is possible that the time allotted for this period is 120 years (1914+120=2034), but that these days will be “cut short” some time before they are allowed to reach their end. We do not put this forth as a “prophecy”, nor would we feel anything was wrong if 2034 came and went and nothing had happened as far the full binding of Satan and the destruction of his empire is concerned. All things are in God’s hands.

Russell, after 1904, expected the spiritual phase of God’s Kingdom (which he believed had already been set up over the years from 1874 to 1878) to bring in, not an immediate total destruction of the Gentile Kingdoms, nor that God’s Kingdom would immediately bring peace to the nations in 1914, but rather just the opposite, a time of trouble, which would eventually bring in the Kingdom rulership all over the earth. Before 1904, he had expected the time of trouble to begin before 1914 and end in 1914; but in 1904 he began to see 1914 as the “beginning” — not the end — of the time of trouble. This somewhat overrides all of the earlier statements concerning the consumation of things in 1914.

He certainly didn’t believe that 1914 would be “the end of the world”, as that term is usually used. Early in 1914, an issue of The Bible Students Monthly was issued with the large bold heading “END OF WORLD IN 1914″. Some have quoted the large headline of this tract as proof that Russell was expecting the “end of the world” in 1914. However, such neglect the subheading under the larger headline, which states: “NOT THE VIEW OF PASTOR RUSSELL NOR OF I.B.S.A.” A scan of this is presented below:


Russell viewed the end of the age as a period of time, which had begun in 1874, and, at least after 1904, he believed that it would be over within one or two years after October 1914, although he did state he could not be certain about this. One could say that there was an “age” that ended in 1914, but many Bible Students view the “end of the age” as a period of time covering 1874 to whenever Satan is sealed in the abyss so that he is not able to deceive the nations. Please note that never did Russell prophesy anything, nor did he claim to be a prophet (except that that term can be applied in the broader sense); he never claimed to be an infallible, inspired foreteller of events, and stated such many times.

Many who criticize Russell are often totally ignorant of what Russell taught concerning 1914 between the years of 1904 to 1914. They tend to quote from what Russell wrote before 1904, thus readers do not receive the full picture concerning what Russell wrote in the ten years preceding 1914.

We are reproducing in separate parts some of the things Russell said concerning 1914, the time of trouble, and the “end of the age”, etc. The main focus of these quotes is between the years of 1904 to 1915, although there are some quotes given before 1904 are in some way relevant.

Note that we do not necessarily agree with everything he said (nor do we believe Russell himself would agree with everything he stated). We also note that in Russell’s day there was no central governing body amongst the Bible Students, and there were some Bible Students who disagreed with many of Russell’s conclusions during the times he made these statements, as one can see from the quotes below. We do believe that many of his statements were overconfident, and some others were overstated. As one can see, however, Russell stated that these were his own surmisings as a result of his study of the prophecies. He never tried to force anyone to accept his expectations. One should also realize that some of his statements were “spur of the moment” statements that were recorded and put into print.

We need to add Russell's expectations before 1904. We hope to get back to this as God permits. We begin below with his change of viewpoint concerning 1914 in 1904.

1904::
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.–very speedily thereafter, in our opinion –”in one hour,” “suddenly.”
Universal Anarchy: Just Before or After October, 1914 A.D.? ZWT, July 1, 1904, page 197, Reprints 3389
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/htdb0350.htm
1904::
Our Lord’s presence, as shown in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., dates from October, 1874, where the forty years’ harvest began, of which he is the great Chief Reaper. The date for the final anarchy in no sense affects it. April, 1878, marks the date of the establishment of the Kingdom, as shown in the same volume. At that date was due the resurrection of the sleeping saints who died “overcomers.” Thus the establishment of the Kingdom commenced: it has since progressed as one after another of the same class have since died and been “changed” in the moment of death. The Kingdom will be fully established or “set up” by October, A.D. 1914, as already pointed out; for that date closes the forty years of “harvest” and accomplishes its design–the gathering of all the wheat into the garner of the heavenly condition.
***
So then, dear friends, it is evident that the coming of universal anarchy after the “harvest,” after October 1914 A.D., has nothing whatever to do with either the presence of the Reaper or the setting up of his Kingdom. Indeed, the guidance and overruling of that anarchy will be under the control of the glorified Church – the Christ. Thus those days of anarchy will be shortened and not permitted to go on to their reasonable end–a general strife, “every man’s hand against his brother” – which would in the end mean “no flesh saved.” On the contrary, the glorified Christ will permit the trouble to go only so far as to teach the world a great lesson: that its rule of selfishness means in the end destruction – to be devoured one of another. It too will teach the foolishness of human boastings in re present wisdom, civilization, etc.
Just another word on this subject. We find that some have concluded that because anarchy destroyed the Jewish nation in the one year following their “harvest,” therefore we should expect that the one year, from October 1914 to October 1915, following the Gospel age “harvest,” would measure the period of universal anarchy coming. We cannot agree to this conclusion, because the type or parallel goes [R3406 : page 230] no further than the end of the forty years’ “harvest” in both cases–October 69, where the year A.D. 70 began, and October 1914, where the year 1915 A.D. will begin (Jewish reckoning). The anarchy period lies entirely outside of any dates or reckonings furnished us. It may be one year or more. The “elect” are not to be in it, and as for their interest in friends who may experience its sorrows we now know our Father’s character and plan so well that we dare trust our friends as well as ourselves to his loving care, assured that God’s provisions will be the wisest and best.

“Fear Not, O Zion”, ZWT, August 1, 1904, Beginning on page 229, Reprints 3405
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/htdb0351.htm
1904::
The prophecy pictures, nevertheless, what will actually transpire. The Lord Jesus at the appropriate time will take unto Himself His great power and begin His reign – a reign of righteousness which the world will not see, neither comprehend, until it shall have broken in pieces the kingdoms of this world as a potter’s vessel under the rule of the “iron rod” of Justice. (Revelation 2:27) While it is now the mission of the Lord’s people in the flesh to make known the good tidings of the Lord’s truth and grace, and as ambassadors of God to urge upon all the acceptance of these, it is now the due time also for them to announce what would not have been true at an earlier time, namely, “The day of vengeance of our Lord, the day of recompense.” This time of trouble coming upon the world, which will apparently and actually come through the breaking loose of human passions, will be fully under the control of the spiritual invisible kingdom forces, which have now assumed control of the affairs of this world. To the worldly things may appear to continue as they have been from the foundation of the world (2 Peter 3:4), but it is in appearance only. Actually the change of dispensation is due, the divine forces are in control and it is a part of the divine program to permit the wrath of man to work out a share in the judgments of the “day of wrath.” Thank God! this day of wrath is not a time of future roastings in eternal torment, but it will be found bad enough a present time of trouble in the close of this age, in which there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth a time of trouble referred to by the apostle when he says, “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for the mercies that shall come upon you.
“The Times of the Gentiles Nearly Run Out”, The Pittsburgh Gazette, January 11, 1904
Reproduced in Harvest Gleanings, Volume 2.
1904::
The fourth testimony of the angel respecting the great time of trouble closing “the time of the end” is not yet fulfilled; but on every hand we can see that the precedent conditions are ripening. This fourth feature is expressed in the words, “And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” From other prophetic Scriptures we glean that this great trouble lies 10 years in the future. It will be ushered in at the expiration of what the Scriptures designate the “times of the Gentiles,” October, 1914 A.D.
“Lessons Drawn From St. Louis Exposition”, October 2, 1904, Pittsburgh Gazette
http://www.mostholyfaith.com/bible/Newspaper_Sermons/NS06.asp#NS108:1
1904::
The third and fourth verses of our lesson, we believe, are near fulfilment. In the Revised Version it reads, “Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased her joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian.” The nation of Israel is much increased today, the estimate at the present time being between ten and twelve millions. Their joy is not yet accomplished because this great deliverance here mentioned has not yet been accomplished. It is to be accomplished in the day of trouble, shortly after October, 1914, we believe. The reference here to their deliverance being similar to that in the day of Midian signifies that, as in the days of Midian the Lord specially manifested divine [R3469 : page 366] power by which Gideon and a handful with him smote an immense army and delivered Israel from the oppressor, so here in the end of this age the glorified Lord and his glorified Church, the little flock, the antitype of Gideon and his band, will deliver Israel with a similar mighty manifestation of divine power
.
“Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:1-7: ZWT, December 1, 1904, page 364, Reprints 3468
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/htdb0355.htm
1906::
First of all I hasten to assure you that I have never laid claim to infallibility. I do not expect to be infallible until by the Lord’s grace I shall share a part in the First Resurrection; then, that which is perfect having come, that which is in part shall be done away; we shall see as we are seen and know as we are known. We accept the writings by the twelve apostles as being so supervised of the Lord as to be free from any error. He himself said of the writers, the apostles, Whatsoever ye shall bind, enforce, on earth will be that which is recognized as bound or enforced in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose or release from on earth shall be loosed or released from in heaven. Hence we may regard the presentations of those twelve men, intended of the Lord to be his special representatives under the holy Spirit’s dispensation, as being infallible, true, inerrant. But there is no ground for believing that any others than the apostles have been so miraculously holden by the power of God as were those twelve, or that we have any authority in the Word of God for considering the words and writings of others as being above or beyond testing and proving by the Scriptures. This has invariably been our presentation. It has been our endeavor to present the Word of God faithfully as he has given us to understand it–to our own Master we stand or fall. Nevertheless we trust that our course has the approval also of such of the Lord’s dear people as, led by his Spirit, are now walking in the light of present truth.
– ZWT, March 15, 1906, page 90
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbnon/r3745.htm
1907::
A DEAR Brother inquires, Can we feel absolutely sure that the Chronology set forth in the DAWN-STUDIES is correct?–that the harvest began in A.D. 1874 and will end in A.D. 1914 in a world-wide trouble which will overthrow all present institutions and be followed by the reign of righteousness of the King of Glory and his Bride, the Church?
We answer, as we have frequently done before in the DAWNS and TOWERS and orally and by letter, that we have never claimed our calculations to be infallibly correct; we have never claimed that they were knowledge, nor based upon indisputable evidence, facts, knowledge; our claim has always been that they are based on faith. We have set forth the evidences as plainly as possible and stated the conclusions of faith we draw from them, and have invited others to accept as much or as little of them as their hearts and heads could endorse. Many have examined these evidences and have accepted them; others equally bright do not endorse them. Those who have been able to accept them by faith seem to have received special blessings, not merely along the line of prophetic harmonies, but along all other lines of grace and truth. We have not condemned those who could not see, but have rejoiced with those whose exercise of faith has brought them special blessings–”Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.”
***
But let us suppose a case far from our expectations: Suppose that A.D. 1915 should pass with the world’s affairs all serene and with evidence that the “very elect” had not all been “changed” and without the restoration of natural Israel to favor under the New Covenant. (Romans 11:12,15) What then? Would not that prove our chronology wrong? Yes, surely! And would not that prove a keen disappointment? Indeed it would! It would work irreparable wreck to the Parallel dispensations and Israel’s Double, and to the Jubilee calculations, and to the prophecy of the 2300 days of Daniel, and to the epoch called “Gentile Times,” and to the 1260, 1290 and 1335 days, the latter of which marking the beginning of the Harvest so well fulfilled its prediction, “Oh, the blessedness of him that waiteth and cometh unto the 1335 days!” None of these would be available longer. What a blow that would be! One of the strings of our “harp” would be quite broken! [[We believe Russell actually overstated this matter. Even if 1914 had failed to produce anything at all, in reality it has no effect on the 1260, 1290 and 1335 days, for these would still be intact. — Ronald R. Day] 
However, dear friends, our Harp would still have all the other strings in tune and that is what no other aggregation of God’s people on earth could boast. We could still worship a God so great and grand that none other could compare with Him. We should still see the grandeur of His salvation in Christ Jesus–”a Ransom for all.” We should still see the wonders of “the hidden mystery,” our fellowship with our Redeemer in “His death” and also “in His resurrection” to “glory, honor and immortality” –”the Divine nature.”
If, therefore, dearly beloved, it should turn out that our chronology is all wrong, we may conclude that with it we have had much advantage everyway. If the attainment of our glorious hopes and present joys in the Lord should cost us such disappointment as our friends fear, we should rejoice and count it cheap! If the Lord sees it necessary for the arousing of the “Virgins” to permit a false note upon the time bugle, let us take it joyfully as one of the “all things” working together for good to those who love Him, to the called ones according to His purpose. But let us not forget that the parable shows that the second awakening of the Virgins was no mistake! The Bridegroom came! The “wise virgins” had the necessary faith to follow; the others, too worldly-wise, lacked the faith and missed the high honors accorded to the Bride class, though privileged later to be her companions at the “marriage supper of the Lamb.”
Knowledge and Faith Regarding Chronology”, ZWT, October 1907, page 294, Reprints 4067
See also:
https://www.htdbv8.com/1913/r5367.htm


More to be added later, God willing. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

If Russell Was Not a Mason, Why Are So Many Saying That He Was?

Why are people claiming that Russell was a member of the Freemasons, when the facts show that he was not a member of the Freemasons?

As far as we know, no one ever claimed that Russell was a member of the freemasons while he was alive. The first such claim we have found appears to be that of a woman by the name of Edith Starr Miller (alias, "Lady Queenborough"), who wrote a book entitled Occult Theocrasy, which was originally published in 1933. Her claim that was Russell was part of a conspiracy of Masons' alleged occult plan to rule the world. In fact, Miller totally misrepresented Russell and what Russell taught in order to make it appear that Russell was indeed an occultist, a Mason, etc. 

Very few, however, took Miller's book very seriously until Fritz Springmeier and David Icke resurrected her teachings and embellished them with all kinds of other alleged "proofs" that Russell was a Freemason, and alleged that he was a member of an alleged "Illuminati" whose goal is to rule the world. From that, others who hate the truths that Russell presented have joined the misrepresentation of Russell as a Mason. Many who profess to be Christian have often supported Springmeier's theory that Russell was of some "serpentine" bloodline, evidently without realizing the contradiction of such a theory to the Bible.

In reality, none of them ever present any actual proof that Russell was Mason (nor could they, since he most definitely never was a Mason), but what they present are their own imaginations and assumptions placed over such symbols as the cross and crown symbol, the sun of righteousness symbol, some quotes of Russell taken out of context (or in some cases, totally reworded to fit the perception they are wishing to display of Russell), etc.


Why? We can only conclude that the "god of this world" is behind this, as he seeks to keep people blinded to any truths Russell taught, and just the presentation of such allegations -- even though they are false -- would certainly seem to put Russell in a bad light in the eyes of many. -- 2 Corinthians 4:4.

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Originally published May 22, 2012; updated and republished August 2, 2015; June 14, 2017 - 

Restoration Light Bible Study Services (RlBible, ResLight), Ronald R. Day, Sr.