Friday, June 23, 2017

CTR’s Expectations Concerning 1914 – Part 1

While thorough and orderly study is necessary to the appreciation of any of the sciences, it is specially so in the science of Divine revelation. And in this work it is doubly necessary, from the fact that in addition to its being a treatise on divinely revealed truths, it is an examination of the subject from, so far as we know, an altogether different standpoint from that of any other work. We have no apology to offer for treating many subjects usually neglected by Christians–among others, the coming of our Lord, and the prophecies and symbolism of the Old and New Testaments. No system of theology should be presented, or accepted, which overlooks or omits the most prominent features of Scripture teaching. We trust, however, that a wide distinction will be recognized between the earnest, sober and reverent study of prophecy and other scriptures, in the light of accomplished historic facts, to obtain conclusions which sanctified common sense can approve, and a too common practice of general speculation, which, when applied to divine prophecy, is too apt to give loose rein to wild theory and vague fancy. Those who fall into this dangerous habit generally develop into prophets (?) instead of prophetic students.
– 1886; “The Divine Plan of the Ages”, pg. 13
Neither must you lean upon the DAWN and the TOWER as infallible teachers. If it was proper for the early Christians to prove what they received from the apostles, who were and who claimed to be inspired, how much more important it is that you fully satisfy yourself that these teachings keep closely within their outline instructions and those of our Lord; — since their author claims no inspiration, but merely the guidance of the Lord, as one used of him in feeding his flock.
I trust, dear Brother, that, as you examine these publications, that may seem to you to be true of the author which the Apostle Paul said of himself: “We preach not ourselves, but Christ, — the power of God and the wisdom of God. Whether successful or not, others must judge, and especially the Lord; but I ever seek to hold forth the Word of Life.” (Phil. 2:16) True, it has been held forth in my hands (powers), but never as my Word. Hence in no sense have I, as a pope, taken the place of Christ before his Church.
Indeed, time and again I have seen that the teachings of those who make utterances of their own, but in the name of Christ, by claimed inspiration, or special revelations, or boasted wisdom (which is the real spirit of popery), and without proof from the Scripture, are received by many. And I am confident that the DAWN and TOWER would have many more friends and believers if they followed this (popery’s) course; — for as some one has said, “People prefer to be humbugged.” But such a course I dare not follow; I must be true to the Lord and declare his Word, and let him take charge of the consequences.
-1893; letter written by Pastor Russell,
published in “The Watch Tower”, June, 1893 pg. 168
Should we understand that “that servant” must be divinely inspired, so as to be infallible; and that “his fellow servants” and the “household” would be cut off by his service from fellowship with the Lord through the Scriptures?
Answer. — (1) We purposely avoided making an application of “that servant.” We merely corrected a former too careless criticism of the lesson; and showed that the language of the Scripture was so carefully chosen as to leave no room to question its reference to some one servant (animate or inanimate) whom the Lord would specially use in the present time to dispense the present truth to “his fellow servants” as well as to the “household.”
The account contains no suggestion of either the inspiration or infallibility of “that servant.” This distinction belongs only to the Lord, the Apostles and the prophets. The whole force of the statement shows “that servant” to be merely a special channel for distributing the truth. His business is not to make truth, but to circulate it; — to put it into the hands of “his fellow servants” and the truth-hungry “household.”
There certainly is no intimation that the “household” is cut off from access to, or feeding on, the Word of God; neither by “that servant” nor by “his fellow servants.” None of the “servants” are to come between the “household” of faith and God’s Word.
On the contrary, each one of the “household” is to prove all that he accepts as spiritual food, whether he gets it from the Bible himself or from “that servant” or from “his fellow servants.” None of these servants are “lords over God’s heritage”; their highest privilege will be to serve, and the only difference between “that servant” and “his fellow servants” will be that his service will be more general, a wider service.
More perhaps than any other servant, ZION’S WATCH TOWER has opposed the thought that the Church of Christ is composed of a clerical class commissioned to teach, and a lay class not commissioned to teach the divine Word: it specially has held up the inspired words, “all ye are brethren” and “one is your Master”; and has pointed out that all consecrated believers are of the “royal priesthood” each fully commissioned, not to “lord it” over others, but to sacrifice himself in the service of the truth, doing good unto all, especially to the household of faith. So with the servants of Matt. 24:49; service is their only commission, not lordship or self-appointment. All the members of the “body” are “anointed to preach” the gospel, and instructed to search the Scriptures, as we have heretofore clearly shown. This has been true ever since Pentecost, and is as true as ever to-day. But the plan of the ages, as a general arrangement and “feast,” provided by God for his people, was not provided until its due time. Each one who is served with the present truth may invite others to sit down while he joins the servants in ministering to them. There is abundant opportunity for all who desire to be “servants”; for the majority of the household of faith have as yet barely “tasted that the Lord is gracious” — not yet tasted of “the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Zion’s Watch Tower, June 15, 1896, pages 139,140
For our study on the faithful and wise servant, see:

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.”

– The Battle of Armageddon, page 613.
The Editor of this journal, through its columns, is pleased to meet with those of the Lord’s people who desire fellowship and communion respecting the Lord’s Word; and the reading of expositions of the Scriptures in the WATCH TOWER differs nothing from hearing the utterance of the same words by any living person who might meet with you. We claim no infallibility for our presentations, nor do we simply offer our opinions and conjectures, after the manner of the scribes and Pharisees; but rather after the manner of the great Teacher, we seek to present to the minds of those interested the teachings of Moses and the prophets, and to voice the testimony of Jesus and the apostles, and to show the harmony of the Scriptures.
– Zion’s Watch Tower, April 15, 1901, page 136
“We preach not ourself but Christ. We substantiate nothing except by his Word. We make no laws, formulate no creed, deprive no sheep of his full liberty in Christ; but merely on every question quote the Word of the Lord, through the apostles and prophets. We boast nothing, claim nothing of ourself. We are content to serve the Lord and his flock to the best of our ability – exacting no tithes, no “honor of men,” no confession of authority, no compensation; hoping merely for the love of the Lord and of those who are his children and have his Spirit. So far from forming or desiring to form a new sect, we ignore all sectarian systems and their claimed authority; we recognize only the “one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism” of the Scriptures and fellowship as a “brother” every person of decent morals who confesses faith in the “redemption through the blood of Christ,” and especially all of this class who profess a full consecration to the Lord’s will and service,– whatever sect they may be in, or outside of all.”
-1906; “The Watch Tower”, January 1, 1906 pg. 20
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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. — Site Owner]] ****
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
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