Sunday, September 1, 2019


What did Russell say about "doomsday?" Often many, evidently confusing the message presented by the Jehovah's Witnesses as coming from Brother Russell, claim that Russell created a doomsday cult. Russell, however, did not believe the same as the Jehovah's Witnesses.

We present below some statements of Russell concerning doomsday. We also provide links to the full sermons or articles being quoted, and recommend that one actually study what he presented to see what his views were, and thus that he was not preaching a "doomsday."

Quote 1:

QUESTION--What is meant by the term "Doomsday?" (A.B.C.)

ANSWER--It is that last dreadful day in the which (according to the antiquated theories of an obsolete theological formation) the Lord will return to the earth, and take His seat upon a great white throne, and then all nations will be gathered before Him, for judgment. As the judgments proceed, the mountains and the rocks will come tumbling down, and the sea and all the waves will roar under the agitations of a mighty storm. About this time a terrible earthquake will shake things up so severely that all the things that can be shaken will be removed. In connection with these terrifying phenomena of nature, there will be the sounding of the last trump, and tremendous voices will be heard in the air. Amidst this deafening uproar, while "the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds" is transpiring, the 20,000,000,000 and more of the human race will be judged, and all within the limitations of a twenty-four hour day. When the final summing up takes place, the Great Judge will invite the few saints, "the little flock," to enter into the conditions of bliss, while to the vast majority of the race He will issue the command to depart into an eternity of torment in fire and brimstone. With the pronouncement of the final sentence of doom, a terrible fire will break forth; the elements shall melt with fervent heat; and the heavens and earth being on fire shall be dissolved! This lurid picture of the judgment time was evidently formed by some one with highly developed imaginative powers, who gathered together a number of symbolic and figurative expressions from the Scriptures with which to produce this amusing sketch of "doomsday," which has served to frighten some good and bad children nearly to death!  -- What Pastor Russell Said, page 294.

Quote 2:

The expression "day of judgment" is greatly misunderstood, being often interpreted to mean doomsday, as signifying the time when trial is ended and the decision given. With this thought in mind, the expression "day of judgment" carries to the minds of many a sense of dread, of fear....

This appointed day has not yet arrived, but the Scriptures clearly outline it as the Day of Christ, the Millennial day, 1,000 years long, in which the world will have its trial, its test, Christ and the Church being its judges (1 Cor. 6:2), not for its condemnation, but for its assistance, its up-building, its instruction and the granting to it of a full krisis or trial or test, to prove which of mankind would intelligently choose the side of evil with its penalty of the Second Death – utter destruction. No wonder the prophet, looking forward to that judgment day at the second coming of Christ rejoices therein, saying – "Let the heavens be glad, And let the earth rejoice; And let men say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth. Let the sea roar and the fulness thereof; Let the fields rejoice and all that are therein.

Then shall the trees of the wood sing aloud At the presence of Jehovah, Because he cometh To judge the earth. O give thanks unto Jehovah, for he is good; For his mercy endureth forever." 1 Chron. 16:31-34

The coming judgment of the world will be Jehovah's judgment day, but the Christ (our Lord and the glorified Church his Bride) will be the judges of the world, both representing Jehovah and his laws and acting also as Mediator. From this standpoint the prospect of the world's crisis or judgment is a blessed one. It implies that in some manner the first judgment of Jehovah against Father Adam and the race, the result of the first trial, has been set aside or cancelled, for there could not be another trial granted to humanity unless the sentence of the first trial were in some manner liquidated. And so we find – the good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people is that the penalty of the first judgment, in which Father Adam failed and we all shared his penalty, has been met, has been cancelled by the death of Jesus, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." -- "Four Great Judgment Days and the Results." Printed in The National Labor Tribune, April 13, 1909. Reprinted in Harvest Gleanings Vol. 2, pages 640-645.

Quote 3:

Our text [Hebrews 9:27,28] has long been misunderstood: to the majority of minds it signifies, Beware of doomsday, and bids humanity quake at the thought of inexpressible agonies awaiting all who have not made their peace with God through Christ. We quite agree that the Scriptures do teach, "a just recompense of reward to every soul of man that doeth evil:" [Heb. 2:2 ?]we agree that none of God's laws can be violated with impunity, that "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap;" [Gal. 6:7] [NS423] but we dissent strongly from the usual thought that the divine Creator purposed from before man's creation an awful and unjust torture, inconceivable in its severe and prolonged sufferings. This erroneous view has come to us from the "dark ages," and we thank God that gradually the eyes of our understanding are opening, so that some of the features of the nightmare of horror which once engulfed us are fading away, and our minds are attaining a saner view of the Almighty and a better understanding of his Word. Error is frequently inconsistent, as in the case before us: it claims, on the one hand, that the sufferings of the ungodly, the unregenerate, begin in the very moment of death and last through all eternity, without change or abatement; then it takes the text before us and contradicts itself, saying that the whole world of mankind will need to wait until the Day of Judgment, and that then and there they will enter upon their hopeless torment. If the one view be right the other one must be wrong, all will admit; but we hold that both these conceptions of the future are erroneous, that both of them are inconsistent with the divine testimony. Scripturally considered, the judgment of the Church takes place during this Gospel age, while the world's judgment will transpire during the Millennium. Scripturally considered, the Church, the Elect, now on trial for eternal life, will receive their reward, be glorified, fully empowered, and will then constitute the "judges of the world." -- "After This the Judgment." National Labor Tribune, October 14, 1906. Reprinted in Harvest Gleanings Vol. 2, pages 422-426.

Quote 4:

Those who have been accustomed to think of the judgment day as merely a time of terror, "doomsday," will no doubt be surprised when we call to their attention that the Scriptures speak to the contrary of this, and assure us that the judgment day will be a mark of divine favor toward humanity. Theology has gotten miserably twisted on this subject, far away from the Bible presentation, and hence the prevalence of the wrong, unscriptural view of the day of judgment. Allow me to quote for you the words of the prophecy respecting this great judgment day, that you may see that the Lord, guiding the words of the Prophet David by inspiration, calls upon all mankind to rejoice that there is to be a judgment day. (1 Chron. 16:31-34) -- "Separating the Sheep From the Goats." The National Labor Tribune, Apritl 30, 1905. Reprinted in Harvest Gleanings Vol. 2, pages 179-184.

Quote 5:

The Day of Judgment, or, as it once was called, Doomsday, had an awful significance to our forefathers. To them it brought pictures of Christ upon his throne of judgment surrounded by myriads of holy angels intent upon executing his decrees, good or bad, and to the vast majority of those decrees were supposed to mean eternal torment. A once famous preacher of this famous city of churches pictured the Judgment scene most grotesquely as represented in the public prints of about thirty years ago. "The Divine Program -- Judgment of the Great White Throne." What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly, pages 37-43.

Quote 6:

the general explanation that this term Day of Judgment has been seriously misconstrued by theologians and by the public. It has been used out of harmony with the Scriptural usage. It has been used out of harmony with reasonable, logical deductions. The term Day of Judgment is generally understood to mean Day of Sentence or Day of Doom. In fact, Doomsday is frequently used as a synonym without the slightest warrant. The term Day of Judgment signifies the Day of trial or testing; as in our text we read that men shall give an account in the Day of Judgment for every idle word. The proper thought on the subject of judgment from the Bible standpoint is this: God created our first parents innocent, perfect, and placed them on trial. Their Day of Judgment was in Eden. How long it would have lasted had they remained faithful to God we are not informed, but as soon as they had disobeyed the Divine Command, their day of trial or judgment was ended, and the sentence, "Dying thou shalt die," began to be inflicted. The judgment or trial of Adam was over, and since all of his posterity share his imperfections and are equally unworthy of life on that account, therefore the sentence of sin, "Dying thou shalt die," rests upon every member of the race, just as though each individual had been on trial in Eden and had lost in the trial with Father Adam. This matter St. Paul clearly enunciates, saying, "By one man's disobedience, sin entered into the world and death as the result of sin. Thus death passed upon all men, because all are sinners" (Romans 5:12.)

This being true, how comes it that there is any mention made in the Scriptures of another judgment day? If all mankind already are judged unworthy of eternal life and worthy of death everlasting, why should there be any further judgment? The Bible answer to the question is that there would have been no reference to a future judgment day had it not been that God had provided a Redeemer, Christ Jesus, by whose merit the first penalty against our race through Adam will eventually be abrogated, set aside. In consequence of the setting aside of the first sentence of death a second trial or judgment will be opened to every member of the race. The first trial or judgment was of one man (Adam) for all of his race. A second trial or judgment, secured by the Redeemer, will treat Adam and all of his race individually; granting them each an individual or personal trial, hence unlike the first trial in Eden, which was of one man and for the race. This second trial has not yet been provided for our race, except in the sense that it has been prepared for and promised--"God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness." That day will be the Millennial day--a thousand years in length. It will be the world's trial [OV208] day or time of individual testing. -- "Every Idle Word." What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly, pages 207-211.

Quote 7:
Our topic for today relates to the great blessings of the world's Judgement Day. Instead of calling it "doomsday," the Scriptures represent it as the great "Jubilee" period. For long centuries, in every land in every part of the earth, Satan has been seeking to misrepresent the divine character and plan, in order to drive men further and further away from their great Creator-in order to hinder them from hearing and appreciating his "wonderful words of life" "speaking peace through Jesus Christ our Lord." The great adversary has totally misrepresented the coming day of judgment. It is to be a day of judgment in the sense of rewards and punishments to the church for the deeds of the present life; but not to the world.

The church, having been freed from the original condemnation through faith in Christ, "justified by faith," and having made consecration to the Lord, is now upon trial; and the Apostle assures us that each one in the church shall, at the conclusion of this age, at the dawning of the millennial age, "receive according to the things done in the body" -as members of the body of Christ. Some of these "overcomers" will be the joint heirs with the Lord in the kingdom, while others of these consecrated ones will fall short of this high attainment and will be of the great company mentioned in Rev. 7:9-15. They will not get into the throne with the bride class, but will be blessed with the great privileges of serving before the throne during the millennial age; they will not get the crowns, but they will get palm branches-because they were not sufficiently loyal to the Lord and to the principles which he enunciated and to the terms of their covenant. They get their white robes of justification sullied, spotted and wrinkled, and fail to properly care for it and have the spots and wrinkles removed through the precious blood, and therefore they must "wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb" -in great tribulations. Still others who have been of the church, the Scriptures clearly indicate, will be judged worthy of the second death.

But as for the world, its judgment waits until the millennial age. Those who do not hear the gospel invitation of the present time will miss all opportunity of a change of nature from human to spiritual. The grand opportunity to be offered to them will be an opportunity for return to perfect human conditions, moral, physical, whose home will be the rejuvenated earth - "Paradise restored." The world will be then on trial, not for the sins of Adam, neither for the weaknesses inherited through him, for which they already are condemned and dying. "Earth's Great Jubilee" (January 4, 1904) Harvest Gleanings Vol. 3, pages 188-195

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