Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Millennial Bean

Many times, false accusations are spread concerning Russell and the “Millennial Bean.”  One site states: "he marketed a fake cancer cure and what he called a 'millennial bean!' (Beans, beans, good for the heart!!)."

An author on one site claims:
Russell was an inventor, of a peculiar sort. His earliest work led to such creations as Miracle Wheat ("this is not your father's wheat!"), a cure for cancer, and the Millennial Bean (which one joker said took a thousand years to sprout). It was his research into the Bible, however, that led to his own reinvention as "prophet."
Russell never claimed to "invent" anything; he did not create the Miracle Wheat, he did not create any cure for cancer, nor did he create the "Millennial Bean." Russell consistently disclaimed being a prophet.

On another site, we read:
In 1911 a Brooklyn newspaper exposed a "Miracle Wheat" scam run by Russell. Other Russell get rich quick schemes included a fake cancer cure and what he termed a "millennial bean".
The reality is that no Brooklyn newspaper actually exposed Stoner's "Miracle Wheat as being a scam. It was not Russell who discovered this wheat. Russell originated no claims for the wheat, nor did give the wheat the name "Miracle Wheat." Many farmers attested in court to the validity of the claims that Stoner had made for the wheat. Russell lost the case because he was not able to prove intent in the false claims being made by the Brooklyn Eagle.

There was certainly never any "get rich scheme" involved in either Stoner's Miracle Wheat, nor in the cancer cure, nor in the millennial beans.

On another site, under the title, "Jehovah's Witnesses  and Magic Beans," we find the following false information concerning Russell:
Later he came up with a fake cancer cure and what he termed a "millennial bean" (maybe it took a thousand years .to sprout) 
Again, Russell himself did not come up any cure for cancer, and he himself did not term the beans spoken of as "millennial bean." He certainly never spoke of any bean as taking a thousand years to sprout.

The author of a book entitled Brothers Silenced  states the following concerning Brother Russell:
He also used his literature to promote several moneymaking schemes. They included: pet ideas, a miracle cure for cancer made from chloride of zinc, a millennial bean, and wondrous cottonseed.
To say that any of the above were "moneymaking schemes" is misleading. To say that any of the above things mentioned were "pet ideas" of Russell is definitely highly deceptive.

Another claims that Russell was "involved with a Millennial Bean to cure cancer." The truth is that Russell was never involved with any kind of bean that was supposed to cure cancer.

There used to be articles on several sites that claimed that Russell was convicted of fraud for selling Miracle Wheat and Millennial Beans. The site pages that contained this false statement appear to have been removed. The real fact is that Russell was never convicted of fraud at all; indeed, no government agency ever filed charges against Russell for fraud, as some of the authors had claimed.

Regarding the alleged "fake cancer cure," please see our research: A Cure For Surface Cancer.

Regarding Stoner's Miracle Wheat, please our research regarding Russell and Miracle Wheat.

Regarding the idea of Russell as being a prophet, please see our research regarding: Was Russell a Prophet?

Regarding the cottonseed, see: The Miracle Wheat Story Part 4

In this writing, however, we are concerned with the "Millennial Beans." What are the facts concerning this “Millennial Bean”. How is it that Russell “marketed” this bean? The actual articles reproduced from the Watch Tower provide the answers:

The Watch Tower
January 1, 1912
Sister Smith of Nebraska recently discovered one stalk of beans which she declares yielded so prolifically that she calls it the Millennial Bean. She desires to get the beans into the hands of others, and at the same time to make a donation to our Tract Fund for the sending forth of free spiritual food to the hungry. Accordingly the beans have been sent to our office.
We believe the project quite a proper one, and if the beans be as prolific elsewhere as in Nebraska, we would be glad to purchase them at the rate of five beans for one dollar. (We have heard of seed wheat selling at one dollar per grain.) However, in view of unfriendly criticism of enemies, we think it best not to sell these beans, but to give them free to our subscribers who have gardens, and who will request them –five beans each.
Sister Smith writes that they should be planted one bean to the hill, and the hills six feet apart. They should be planted in April. They keep bearing right along for weeks, and five should supply a small family. They will be ready to ship in February.

The Watch Tower
March 1, 1912
The requests for five of the prolific beans for seed by far exceed the supply donated by Sister Smith. We have filled the orders first received.
In reply to various inquiries from those who requested these seed beans, we are informed by Sister Smith that there are advantages in planting them in an onion bed or row– at a distance of six feet. An insect, which proves destructive to the bean plant, seems to dislike the onions, and is thus kept away. After the onions are harvested, the beans grow very fast, if the ground is kept loose on the surface. It is also suggested that great care should be exercised in gathering the pods, not to injure the bushes, by pulling, or breaking off the leaves. If the first crop of beans is allowed to remain on the bushes until fully ripened, there will be no additional yield and the bush will die. If they are to bear repeatedly, the pods must be removed as soon as large enough to eat, we are told, and then new blossoms take the place of the first crop.

As can be seen, Russell was not the one who named the bean “Millennial Bean”, nor did he himself make any claims concerning the bean. We find no reference in his works to any "Magic Beans." He did report what Sister Smith had stated, and offered the beans “free” to any subscriber who requested the seeds. And this is the way these beans were "marketed." As is often true, the real facts do not match the twists and distortions that many like to present of Russell. 

However, many churches have been involved in many schemes to create revenue, including bingo, raffles, and many other things. Most who profess to be Christian do not seem to object to these money-making schemes, and yet when it comes to Russell, they often use whatever small event in his life to distort to make him appear to have been an evil money-hungry fraud. The reality is, however, any donations the WTS of Russell's day received from the "marketing" of these seeds were used to fund the gratis distribution of tracts, to praise of the Heavenly Father!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Russell, Hell and the NWT

One has asked the question: Was it Russel [sic] who didn't like the Bible's teachings about hell so he re-wrote it himself, leaving out the doctrine of hell, which is now known as the New World Testament [sic]?

Our response:

Actually Russell stayed very close to what the Bible says about hell, and for that reason he rejected the traditional teachings of eternal torment of the supposed immortal souls of unbelievers. He was not the first to do this, as many had done the same long before Russell began his study of the Bible. Nevertheless, we do not accept every detail of his explanations on sheol, hades, gehenna, tataroo, etc., but we are in general agreement concerning the basic ideas he presented. We have written many things on these topics, and much of what we have written can be found online at:

Assuming that by "New World Testament" is meant the JWs' New World Translation, Russell had nothing to do with producing the New World Translation, which was published by the WTS for use by the Jehovah's Witnesses many years after Russell's death. We understand that the principle translator of the NWT was Frederick Franz. Russell, however, was never a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and his views on many Biblical topics were quite different from that of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The NWT translation does sometimes reflect the view held by the leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses. We know from Russell's writings that there is much Russell would have disagreed with about the NWT. 

The NWT transliterates the Hebrew and Greek words for hell. Many translations do that; not just the NWT. We believe that the NWT translation, like any other translations, is not 100% accurate, but as a whole we do find it more in accord with many of the suggested translations of various Bible scriptures as offered by Paul S. L. Johnson (a Hebrew and Greek Bible scholar who was a private secretary to Brother Russell) than most other translations. Brother Johnson himself recommended Rotherham's Emphasized Bible translation for overall accuracy. Brother Johnson died in the same year that the first section of the New World Translation was published, so we doubt that he ever saw this translation at all.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Phrenology and Russell

Many claims are being made about Charles Taze Russell and "phrenology". We will not address all these claims, but we will here endeavor to examine a few of them. First, let use examine some dictionary definitions of terms related to "phrenology":

Phrenology: a psychological theory or analytical method based on the belief that certain mental faculties and character traits are indicated by the configurations of the skull. — Unabridged; Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

Phrenologist: One versed in phrenology; a craniologist. (Webster, 1913)

Crainology: the science that deals with the size, shape, and other characteristics of human skulls. — — Unabridged; Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

Was Charles Taze Russell a “phrenologist”? If one means by this term one who practices phrenology, no he wasn’t. The broader definition, however, would seem to apply to him, in that he did have some degree of knowledge concerning phrenology, evidently through his association with “Brother Wallace,” who had been actively engaged in Phrenology before becoming associated with the Bible Students movement, and who continued to use the principles of Phrenology to illustrate Biblical truths after associating with the movement. Russell adopted some of Brother Wallace’s views and presented them in the Watch Tower; however, Russell was certainly not presenting such as dogmatism. Any Bible Student was free to either accept or reject the suggestions he stated.

At this point, we need to note that while Russell was alive, the Watch Tower Society of his day did not claim any authority, nor did Brother Russell believe in any "central authority" here on earth (other than Jesus and the apostles through the Bible). Russell did not speak as being the head of a religious organization, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. All Bible Students were free to accept or reject his conclusions. For documentation, see:
Charles Taze Russell, Authority and Organization

A publication published  in 1923, The Laodicean Messenger, related concerning Russell: “He was an expert in theoretical and practical psychology and phrenology.” We believe this to be an exaggeration, although it is sure that Russell did have a large amount of knowledge in both areas, as can be seen from his writings. Russell, himself, however, never claimed to be the “Laodicean Messenger”.

“Phrenology” was widely accepted in Russell’s day, although it did also have many opponents. Many atheists, of course, opposed it, since it would have a localized brain function identified with veneration of God. Others opposed it on the grounds that it was simply too theoretical and lacked direct scientific proof. During the years of the Nazi regime, Phrenology came to be in even greater disrepute due to the misuse of Phrenology by the Nazis, causing many to fear Phrenology as a possible misuse to determine whether a person was a criminal based solely on the shape of his brain, even if he had not committed any crime. Thus, Phrenology is generally denounced today as “pseudo science,” or “quackery.” (We need to remember that many claim similar things concerning the Bible itself.)

Whether the principles of Phrenology, as a whole, are actually true or false is still debated. Even if it could be proven to be false, Russell never presented his suggestions on Phrenology with any kind of dogmatism, and if he was misled by Phrenologists of his day, so were many other people, including such people as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thomas Edison. Nevertheless, Russell appears to be the only one singled out to be attacked for his few undemanding statements concerning Phrenology. Nevertheless, despite whatever arguments are used, much of the opposition to Phrenology was and is probably promoted due to the unwillingness to admit that a certain area of the brain is related to veneration, which would tend to get into the area of proof of God’s existence. Today, especially as related to Russell, many try to connect phrenology with demonic/spiritistic occultism in an effort to falsely portray him as practicing demonism, occultism, and spiritism. In fact, Russell was not involved in any of these.
Russell and the Occult

Elements of “Phrenology”, however, are  still widely accepted, but are not generally referred to under that terminology, but simply spoken of as “localized brain functions,” although it appears that usually “veneration” is left out of the “brain functions,” and the focus is placed upon simply speaking in more general terms of motor and reasoning functions.

Is “Phrenology” actually quackery? Brother Russell did not think so, although he did seem to believe that man’s knowledge of this was not perfect. Russell did make some suggestions related to Phrenology as applied to the Bible. We tend to agree with Brother Russell that there is some truth in the principles of Phrenology, but we do not necessarily agree with all the suggestions that Brother Russell presented. Indeed, many Bible Students today may not even know what “Phrenology” is.

One thing Russell said that we highly doubt that many Bible Students would agree with appeared in the Watch Tower of March 15, 1913, page 84:

The question then arises, If the world cannot approach God in prayer, what is the method by which He draws men? The Scriptures say that no man can come unto Christ except the Father draw him. (John 6:44.) The answer is that the drawing cannot be done through the Holy Spirit; for the world has not yet received that Spirit. The drawing power which the Almighty exercises over humanity is in different degrees. Some have a strong desire to worship God, others have a weak desire, and others have no desire at all. This difference is  due to the shape of the brain. Mankind are born with differences in this respect. — Psa. 51:5.

The above is often quoted by those who wish to dissuade faith in the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ leadership. We are not with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Russell, of course, was never part of any such leadership, and did not present the above as an alleged “authority” as is claimed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ leadership today. It was simply presented as a suggestion. Thus, it is improper to retroactively appropriate to Russell himself the discredit that is being endeavored toward the Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership. We ourselves also would seek to discredit faith in the JW leadership, or for that matter, even to putting faith in Russell himself, but at the same without showing disrespect to Russell personally. We definitely do not believe that Brother Russell would want anyone to put faith in Brother Russell above faith in Jesus and the Bible.

What we question in Russell’s statement is the idea that mankind are born with differences in the shape of the brain as this is supposed to related to phrenology. This is possible, but what we would consider to be more likely is that the shape of the brain develops due to usage of localized brain function; thus the parts of the brain that is put to greater use would be more likely to become larger than parts less used. This would simply be a theory, however, and not set forth as a doctrine of Biblical truth.

Did Russell consult a phrenologist, as is being claimed by many, so as to have his the shape of his own brain examined? No, we do not find any evidence that Russell actively sought to consult a phrenologist for such an appraisal of the shape of his head. However, in October, 1911, Brother Russell delivered a lecture at Motherwell, Scotland. It is reported that on that occasion Professor David Dall, a noted Mental Scientist of the British Institute of Mental Science, for his own pleasure made a character sketch of Brother Russell, afterward sending him a copy. The report indicates that the sketch was not made from a personal setting, but that Professor Dall simply made his study by a general observation of the shape of Russell’s head. A copy of this may be seen in Rutherford’s “A Great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens.

Some claim Phrenology is a form of occult spiritualism, and is thus demonic. The reality is that of itself, Phrenology has nothing to do with such occultism, although like the Bible itself, almost anything can be misused for spiritistic occult purposes. In other words, the Bible is misused by spiritualists, but this does not mean the Bible itself is in agreement with such spiritualism; likewise, neither should we condemn Phrenology itself simply because it might be so misused.

Nevertheless, the word "occult" itself simply refers to something that is secret, but which secrets are known to a few. Everything that is labeled "occult" is not necessarily related to some kind of demonism, spiritualism or pagan rituals, etc. One could even refer to the Bible as "occult" since it contains secrets that only those who have God's spirit can appreciate.

One other thing, to Russell, phrenology was not a big thing. He did believe that it was "science" that corroborated the Bible, and that appears to be his greatest interest in it. It was not something he was obsessed with, nor was it something that he spent a lot of time with. Out of the enormous amount of works that Russell produced, mention of phrenology probably amounts to much less than 1%. Even then, it was only referred to in rather passive comments, in which he endeavored to show that the "science" of phrenology corroborated the Bible. There is definitely no indication in any of Russell's reference to phrenology that gives any indication that Russell was involved in "the occult", as often meaning demonic supernatural activity. There is no indication at all that Russell thought that the "science" of phrenology itself had anything to do with demonic occultism.

While we do not necessarily agree with all Russell's conclusions we are providing links to some of Russell's works in which he mentioned "phrenology."

Condition of Unbelievers in the Resurrection

Evolution and the Brain Age

Links to Some Related Material Online (we do not necessarily agree with all conclusions given):

Phrenology (Wikipedia)

Phrenology (Encylopedia Britannica)

Neuroscientists put the dubious theory of ‘phrenology’ through rigorous testing for the first time

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Some Early Quotes Regarding 1914

A tactic that many use to attack Brother Russell is to quote some of Russell's expectations as though they were prophecies and then claim that Brother Russell was a false prophet because what he had been expecting did not come to pass.

A website, under the title “Was Charles Taze Russell the Founder of the JW’s?”, gives some quotes from Charles Taze Russell as “gems” that were “published for public consumption.” Among the quotes are the following:
1892 “The date of the close of that ‘battle’ is definitely marked in Scripture as October, 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October 1874.” Watchtower Reprints, 1/15/1892, p 1355. Historians missed this one—The battle of Armegeddon [sic] starting in 1874 and ending in 1914.
What is not presented is that this represents the view Brother Russell adopted from N. H. Barbour in 1876, that is, that Armageddon had already begun in 1874, and would last until 1914. Thus, at that time, Russell was expecting "Armageddon" -- the time of trouble -- to over by 1914. Russell rejected this idea in 1904, when he realized that the time of trouble was to begin, not end, in 1914.
1899 “…the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced,” (The Time Is at Hand, 1908 edition, p. 101). Unless earth’s’ rulers were completely overthrown in 1914, Russell missed this one, Big Time.
This latter quote was originally published in 1889; it was not changed in the 1908 edition. However, Russell had changed his view related to this in 1904. Russell, however, did not update his Studies to reflect his change of viewpoint related to 1914, although he presented many statements in his Watch Tower magazine related to the time of trouble beginning -- not ending -- in 1914.

Nevertheless, this would only be important if Russell claimed to a dvinely-inspired prophet, and/or claiming some special authority over fellow believers. Russell disclaimed both, but evidently the purpose is to make it appear that Brother Russell claimed to a prophet, and that he had presented alleged false propheciesl. There are at least a couple of things, however, about the quotes that readers should be aware of.

Point #1

One is that Russell, in writing the statements, did not write them as “prophecy”, nor was he assuming authority so as to judge others related to their acceptance or non-acceptance of his conclusions. He certainly never claimed anyone was not saved if they did not accept his conclusions regarding Bible prophecies. There was no authoritarian JW organization in Russell’s day; however, by the giving the quotes while presenting the false expression that Russell was the founder of the JWs does leave many with the impression that he was stating this with the same “authority” that is claimed by the JW leadership today. What Russell said, however, should be tempered and viewed in the light of his other statements, and not by the tint of the JW organization that was developed after his death.  The two quotes above are from 1892 and 1899, but note the following statements of Russell:

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

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.
– Zion’s Watch Tower, June 15, 1896, pages 139,140

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 are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises, the Scriptural basis for which is already in the hands of our readers in the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES. We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them; but showing our own faith by our works.
“Views from the Watch Tower”, January 1, 1908, page 3, Reprints 4109

Point #2:

Russell admitted that his original statements, as given in the two quotations, were in error at least ten years before 1914. His earlier statements were actually based on Barbour’s earlier viewpoint that the “time of trouble” was to end in 1914. In 1904, Brother Russell rejected this viewpoint, and began to expect that the end of the Gentile Times would see the beginning, not the end, of the time of trouble. Brother Russell died in 1916 believing that the time of trouble had begun in 1914.

Brother Russell, however, did not believe in the Armageddon that the Jehovah’s Witnesses preach. He was never expecting an Armageddon that would eternally destroyed unbelievers; his view was that Armageddon was to chastise (not eternally destroy) the unbelievers. Up until 1915, Brother Russell adopted Barbour’s idea that the “time of trouble” was the same thing as the “battle” of Armageddon. In 1915, he began to view “Armageddon” as the final part of the “time of trouble”, but not that the time of trouble itself was Armageddon.

However, regarding the earlier quotes; these are often presented while ignoring Brother Russell’s change in this viewpoint in 1904, and thus the reader is left to assume that when 1914 came, it was only then that Russell or his associates realized that the earlier statements were in error. Actually, at least ten years before 1914, Russell had come the conclusion that his earlier statements concerning 1914 were not correct. In 1904 he came to realize that the end of the Gentiles Times would mean the beginning of the “time of trouble”, and the not ending of that trouble. He also realized that the battle itself is the final part of that trouble, not the trouble itself. Thus, from 1904 forward, Russell was not expecting the battle of Armageddon to be over in 1914, nor was even expecting the “battle” as such to begin in 1914. However, Brother Russell never made a full overhaul of his Studies in the Scriptures to reflect this change of view in 1904. For documentation from Brother Russell’s own words related to this, please see:

Nevertheless, in making this clarification, it is not our desire to make it appear that Brother Russell was a prophet, or that he was infallible, or that one should follow Brother Russell in all that he said. We do not believe Brother Russell himself would have wanted anyone to do this. We should always remember that one should belong to Christ, who is the way, the truth, and life. — John 14:6.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Did Russell Predict that Christ Was to Return in 1874, 1878, 1914?

The question may appear odd to some, as it appears many are under misconception that it was Brother Russell who "predicted" that Christ was to return in 1874, and thus, many people on the WEB have been making claims that Brother Russell had predicted that Christ would return in 1874. For him to have predicted Christ’s return in 1874 would mean that Russell, sometime before 1874, had made such a prediction. On one site, we find the false claim that Russell predicted “the return of Jesus to occur in 1874, and after this date reinterpreted the prediction to say that Jesus had indeed returned in invisible form.”

On another site, we find the statement, most of which is false:
Russell began a series of Bible studies and started to gather followers. Russell agreed with the Adventists’ predictions that Christ would return during 1873—1874. When that did not happen, Russell predicted more times for Jesus’ return-all of which proved to be false, of course.
Russell did begin some Bible studies with friends and family. There is no record that he considered any of these to be his followers, however. Some time around 1876, the group did elect Russell to be their pastor.

Examination of his own writings, however, reveal that before 1874 Russell never held to any conviction that Christ was to return in 1874, thus, he could not have predicted any such return for 1874. We know that Russell, in 1876, accepted that Christ had returned in 1874, but he did not, before 1874, have any expectations that Christ would return in 1874. Nor did he, as many have falsely stated, ever present any other date than 1874 for Christ’s return. Nevertheless, according to Russell’s own statements, he was not expecting, before 1874, that Christ would return in 1874. There is definitely nothing in any of his known published writings wherein we find that he was claiming such before 1874. (Indeed, Russell had no published works at all before 1874) There were some Adventists who were expecting, before 1874, that Christ would return at that date, but Russell was not one of them.

Russell plainly stated that up until 1876, he had no interest in the dates set forth by the various Adventists. Russell stated:
The Lord gave us many helps in the study of His word, among whom stood prominently, our dearly beloved and aged brother, George Storrs, who, both by word and pen, gave us much assistance; but we ever sought not to be followers of men, however good or wise, but “Followers of God, as dear children.” (Ephesians 5:1) Thus growing in grace and knowledge for seven years, the year 1876 found us. — 2 Peter 3:18.
Up to this time [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, for though we believed the event “nigh even at the doors,” yet we recognized the fact that the church will be withdrawn — translated — before there would be any open manifestation to the world, or, in other words, the two stages of Christ’s second advent, viz: coming for his saints, and coming with all his saints. — Mark 13:29.
About this time [1876] I received a copy of the “Herald of the Morning,” Bro. B. was its publisher; I read with interest how he and others had been looking for (to use his own expression) “a bonfire”; how scriptural arguments pointed to the autumn of 1874 as the time it was due; how that as the disappointment connected therewith began to abate, he and others had re-examined the scriptural proofs that appeared to teach that the end of the world was due at the time supposed; how clear and firm all those proofs still seemed; etc.; how that then, they began to examine what was due to take place at the end, and found that instead of a bonfire, scripture taught that “The harvest is the end of the world” (or age), and that though the age ended, the earth remained and a new age unfolded in which “All the families of the earth shall be blest.” — Matthew 13:39; Genesis 12:3.
Russell states how, around 1876, he became interested in the year 1874 as the date of Christ’s return, but this was about two years after 1874 had already passed. Thus, he had certainly not been proclaiming any return of Christ before 1874.

Most of these people who write about Russell often claim to be “exposing” Russell and/or presenting facts, and yet much they present is simply out of someone’s imagination and/or distortion of facts. Here are some more of the erroneous statements that we can find:
[Russell] initially predicted that Jesus Christ would return in 1874, but later he changed the date to 1914.
As already stated, no one produced anything on record in which he ever changed the return of Christ from 1874 to 1914, or any other date.

A similar claim may be found on another website:

Early within his ministry, 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. This is the very date marked by the Great Pyramid measurements....  When 1914 came and went with no sign of Jesus, Russell then interpreted Jesus' second coming as an "invisible" return, or in spirit. This was the birth of the "Invisible Burden of Proof" trick still in use by the Watchtower. 

Since, according to Russell’s own statements, he was not expecting, before 1874, for Christ to return in 1874, Russell never predicted such. However, the second part is also untrue, since Russell never “later … changed the date to 1914”; nor did he “change … his calculations to the date 1914”. Russell continued to believe that Christ had returned in 1874 until his death in 1916. He never changed the date of Christ’s return from 1874 to 1914, or any other date. 

Russell did, in 1876, accept Barbour's conclusion that Christ had returned in 1874, and also that the Gentile Times were to end in 1914. Russell continued to hold to both conclusions until his death in 1916,

While there is an abundance of proof throughout Russell's writings that he did not change Christ's return in 1914, let us examine one from the year 1914 itself:
The Scriptures teach us that there is a time for the Parousia, or Presence of the Lord. That time, as far as we are able to calculate, began in 1874. Since that date we have been living in the Parousia of the Son of Man. — Watch Tower, November 1, 1914, page 326
As one should see, in the year 1914, Russell still believed that Christ had returned in 1874, and he still held to his calculation of 1874 as being when Christ returned. He had not “changed the date to 1914”, or any other date.

Of course, all this also negates the idea that "when 1914 came and went with no sign of Jesus, Russell then interpreted Jesus' second coming as an "invisible" return, or in spirit. This was the birth of the 'Invisible Burden of Proof' trick still in use by the Watchtower."  The truth is that one of the first things that Brother Russell came realize is that Jesus was not raised in the flesh, but in the spirit. This he understood even before 1874. Indeed, when in 1876, he found that Barbour had come to the conclusion that Christ's return was not visible, Russell stated that he was surprised that Barbour had come to the same conclusion as he. Russell stated:
It was about January 1876 that my attention was specially drawn to the subject of prophetic time, as it relates to these doctrines and hopes. It came about in this way: I received a paper called The Herald of The Morning, sent by its editor, Mr. N. H. Barbour. When I opened it I at once identified it with Adventism from the picture on its cover, and examined it with some curiosity to see what time they would set next for the burning of the world. But judge of my surprise and gratification, when I learned from its contents that the editor was beginning to get his eyes open on the subjects that for some years had so greatly rejoiced our hearts here in Allegheny – that the object of our Lord's return is not to destroy, but to bless all the families of the earth, and that his coming would be thief-like, not in flesh, but as a spirit-being invisible to men, and that the gathering of his Church and separating of the wheat from the tares would progress in the end of this age without the world's being aware of it. I rejoiced to find others coming to the same advanced position. -- Italics added to show that these things were understood by Russell for "some years" before 1876.
We read on another site:
He briefly left the church, until age 18, when he attended a presentation by the Adventist preacher Jonas Wendell. During this presentation, Wendell used the extensive calculations of William Miller to prove that the scriptures revealed Jesus Christ would return to Earth between 1873 and 1874. Because Wendell used logic to prove this theory, Russell felt comfortable believing him.

The fact is that we do not know what Wendell preached about at the meeting the Russell attended around 1870. Russell, however, plainly stated that at that time he rejected Wendell's predictions regarding 1873 (later 1874). Thus the above is incorrect. Russell did not accept any date at all for Christ's return until 1876. In 1876, it Nelson Barbour, not Jonas Wendell, who convinced Brother Russell that Christ had returned in 1874.

The author continues:

Thus, Russell’s faith was restored in Christianity. In 1870, Russell and his friends formed a Bible study group in Pittsburgh to discuss the problems they had discovered in the Bible and the issues they had with Christianity. The study group was also joined by Adventist pastors George Storrs and George Stetson, who shaped some of Russell’s early beliefs about immortality and resurrection. After extensively studying the Bible, Russell believed he had found errors, and thus achieved a better understanding of the Christian religion. Unfortunately, Jesus Christ did not appear as predicted between 1873 and 1874. This, however, did not disappoint Russell. He believed that Jesus Christ did not appear visibly, but that his invisible presence had come as scheduled. Russell published his own book, The Object and Manner of the Lord’s Return, which described this viewpoint. 59,000 copies of the book were distributed. While on a business trip to Philadelphia in 1876, Russell read a copy of the magazine Herald of the Morning, published in Rochester, New York, by Nelson H. Barbour, an independent Adventist preacher. The journal spoke of the same things that Russell had been discussing with his Bible study group. Russell met with Barbour and left the meeting convinced that the physical return of Jesus Christ would occur in April 1878. He immediately sold his five clothing stores worth $300,000 in order to devote the next two years preparing for the return of Jesus Christ. Russell used his money to publish Barbour’s book Three Worlds or Plan of Redemption, which stated their idea that a 40-year harvest of souls had begun in 1874 with the invisible return of Jesus Christ. It would end in 1914 with the end of the Age of the Gentiles and the coming of God’s Kingdom. April of 1878 came and went without the return of Jesus Christ. Barbour could not get over his embarrassment and even renounced some of the views he and Russell had once shared. 
The author evidently assumes that Russell had been expecting Christ to return in 1873 or 1874; as we have already demonstrated, before 1874, Russell did not believe in any of the dates being set forth by the Adventists. We do not know what Jonas Wendell spoke about when Russell attended one of his meetings around 1869. We do know that Russell did not, at that time, accept Wendell's views concerning 1873. Russell said of this, "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." However, he had, about 1872, about two years before 1874, concluded that since Christ had sacrificed his flesh for our sins, that Jesus would not return in the flesh, but in the spirit. He did not, however, before 1874, set any date for Christ's return. Nevertheless, before 1874 had arrived, Russell had already concluded that Christ’s return would be spiritual, not in the flesh. This belief was one of the things that led Russell to note Barbour’s similar belief in 1876. But it was not until 1876, two years after 1874, that Russell accepted Barbour’s conclusion that Christ had returned in 1874.

The author makes it appear that Russell published the book, The Object and Manner of Lord's Return, before he met with Barbour in 1876. This is in error, since he published that book about a year after he met with Barbour. The book, however, is mostly declaring the result of Jesus' sacrifice as related to Christ's return. He does, in that booklet, explain his understanding that Christ, having sacrificed his body of flesh, was not raised in flesh, but in this spirit. Thus his return is in the spirit, not in the flesh.

We know of nothing, however, wherein either Russell or Barbour spoke  of Christ's physical return in 1878. Such an idea would have actually been contrary to what Russell believed.

We now present a quote from: 
A Pocket Guide to Sects and New Religions, by Nigel Scotland, 2005, page 118:
As the Campbellites, Millerites and Adventists and others had done, Russell predicted the date of Christ’s return. His first date of 1874 failed to materialize and was advanced to 1878. Disappointment inevitably followed and Russell began to teach that Jesus had in fact returned in 1874, but invisibly, and the elect would be taken to heaven in 1914.
As we have already shown, Russell never, before 1874, predicted any date for Christ's return, nor did he ever present 1878 as a date for Christ's return at all. In 1876, Russell accepted Barbour's conclusion that Christ had already returned in 1874, and he died forty years later in 1916, still holding to the belief that Christ had returned in 1874. He never spoke of Christ as returning in 1878.

Thus seen, Russell never predicted any date for Christ's return. He did not "predict" Christ to return in 1874, since before 1874, he never gave any date at for Christ's return. In 1876, after accepting 1874 as the date of Christ's return, he never gave any other date for Christ's return, so he never predicted Christ to return in 1878 nor in 1914.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Did Russell Give Out That He Himself Was “Some Great One”?

By Ronald R. Day, Senior, Restoration Light Bible Study Services (ResLight; RlBible)

J. J. Ross, in this pamphlet entitled Facts and More Facts About the Self-Styled “Pastor” Russell asserts the following concerning Charles Taze Russell:
He got a considerable following of the common people, and sold out the five men’s furnishing stores which he owned, thenceforth devoting all his time to teaching and preaching his peculiar religious doctrines and giving out that he himself “was some great one.”
Since Ross puts “was some great one” in quotes, we are left with the impression that Ross is quoting from Russell, and that somewhere Russell made the claim that he “was some great one,” using those very words. In fact, however, the alleged “fact” assertion that Ross presents is not fact at all. Search as we may, we do not find anywhere that Russell used the expression “some great one” of himself.

One may search Russell works for the expression “some great one” below:

Search with

Ross did not give any citation as to where he obtained the quote: “was some great one.” We have found no place where Russell actually used the expression “was some great one” as such, and he definitely never spoke of himself as being "some great one,' so the quote is evidently false. As best as we are able to determine, he probably is referring to what Russell stated in the October 1, 1909 Watch Tower, page 293, which, in Ross’ mind, could possibly be twisted to mean that Russell claimed that he was “some great one.”  Let us read the whole paragraph in order to get the context of what Russell actually stated:
Our opponents are ready to admit that the Lord has used the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society as his channel or servant in forwarding the harvest message in a most remarkable degree — in a manner and to an extent hardly to be believed and never equaled — in many tongues and at the hands of many “fellow-servants,” Colporteurs, Pilgrims, Volunteers, etc. They admit that there is no question that a remarkable service has been rendered, and hence that it is indisputable by any who believe that there is a harvest work in progress and that the Society has been a servant of the harvest message in a most profound and peculiar sense, even if they dispute that it has fulfilled Matthew 24:45, as being “that servant.” Our friends, on the other hand, point out that very rarely, indeed, is there any quarrel or dispute over the privilege of being a servant, and that never in the world’s history before has this passage been applied, and that very few would be either desirous of being “that servant” or capable of fulfilling that service. They point out that a servant is known by his service, and that if the service be shown to have been performed, the title of servant is an appropriate one, although one not generally coveted. Those who have laid claims to being “some great one” have styled themselves in some fantastic manner Messiahs, Elijahs, prophets, etc., but amongst these none has ever been found to claim the title of “servant,” nor to rejoice specially in service — particularly not without money and without price, but merely from love for the Lord, love for the Truth and love for the brethren.
Please note above that Russell did not refer to himself as “some great one,” but he refers to others who have made claims to being such. From this it appears that Ross may have taken Russell out of context so as to present as a  “fact” that Russell was “giving out that he himself ‘was some great one.'” Nevertheless, Ross continues in this same manner throughout his pamphlet, so that his “facts” are actually distortions and misrepresentations, as we hope to continue to show, God willing, as we present more posts concerning Ross' alleged "facts".

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Charles Taze Russell, Watch Tower Illustration and The Masons

He cried as a lion: Lord, I stand continually on the watch-tower in the day-time, and am set in my ward whole nights. — Isaiah 21:8, World English
Isaiah 21:11-12 - The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? [12] The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come. -- King James Version
Habakkuk 2:1 - I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. -- King James Version.

It is often claimed that the word “Watch Tower” and the illustration that Russell used on his magazine are of Masonic and/or heathen occult origins. From this, many  further imagine that this offers proof that Russell was a member of the Freemasons’ organization, or that Russell was highly influenced by the Freemasons’ organization, and/or that Russell was involved in some kind of alleged occult practices.

As with other such "witch hunt"-type proofs, any connection with the Freemasons or the occult has to be imagined and assumed, and then the assumed connection is presented as being fact. And yet the fact is that Russell was definitely never a member that organization, nor was he involved in any heathen occult practices. Evidently, what is being imagined and assumed is that the term Watch Tower itself is Masonic, and thus anyone who uses that term must be a Freemason, or be highly influenced by the Freemasons. Likewise, it evidently imagined the usage of Watchtower symbolism is itself of the occult, and thus anyone who uses this symbol must be involved with the occult. This is the same "witch hunt"-type logic that is used concerning Russell’s Biblical use of the cross and crown (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10) and the Christian armor (Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:11-13) illustrations. In other words, what is being offered as proof is not the illustrations that Russell used, by rather what is being imagined and assumed concerning those illustrations.

If, however, usage of the term “Watch Tower” is Masonic, then the Bible itself must be Masonic, since that is what Russell based his usage of the term upon, as can be seen from the scriptures that he presented on the cover of the Watch Tower. One of the scriptures used is Isaiah 21:11,12, which speaks of a watchman. The watchman, of course, would be in a watch tower (Isaiah 21:8), and would report of anything that would be of importance to whatever city he was to report to. 

Concerning Isaiah 21:11,12, Russell stated:
It is the duty of the watchman on the walls of Zion to declare the whole counsel of God the bitter as well as the sweet. This duty we continually seek to perform. It is appropriate that the glories of the millennial epoch, foretold through God's word, should receive more of our attention than the darker picture of the night of trouble with which it will be introduced. It is appropriate also that we give, as the scriptures do, still more attention to the inculcation of the principles which go to form Christian character amongst the Lord's consecrated people, because these are essentials to their attainment of the glorious privileges and honors of the kingdom. 
-- "The Morning Cometh, and a Night Also", sermon, November, 1907.
So far we have not actually found any place wherein Brother Russell directly explained why he chose the name “Watch Tower” for his magazine, but, in application, Russell believed that the Bible should be guide for what would appear in his magazine, which bore the name “Watch Tower”. The symbol of a Watch Tower signifies watching and heralding truths in connection with the Bible and its prophecies.

To this end, Russell presented in the pages of the Watch Tower the following (scriptural references have been expanded for search purposes):
THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or “Seminary Extension,” now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, “For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.” It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society’s Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled “Pilgrims,” and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.
Our “Berean Lessons” are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society’s published “Studies,” most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.
This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian’s hope now being so generally repudiated, — Redemption through the precious blood of “the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all.” (1 Peter 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Peter 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to — “Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which…has been hid in God,…to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God” — “which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed.” — Ephesians 3:5-9,10.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; — according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
At most, it appears that it was his belief that the Watch Tower magazine would be a sentinel to present truths to spiritual Zion as they are found and understood from the Bible itself.

Regardless, the idea that the word “Watch Tower” as Russell used it is of itself Masonic, or that the Biblical illustration of a Watch Tower is Masonic, or of the occult, is linked only by use of the spirit of human imagination. As we have stated before several times on this site, we have tens of thousands of pages of Russell’s works that abundantly attest that he was not a member of the Freemasons, nor that was "into the occult"; no one has yet presented any evidence -- except for what has to be either distorted, imagined and assumed -- that Russell was a Mason, or that he was being highly influenced by the Masons, or that he was practicing anything of the occult.


Russell's Alleged Use of Masonic Symbols

Russell and the Occult