Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Armageddon will be in 1914 or 1915?


The following is presented on the CARM site:
Armageddon is in 1915

" . . . the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878[3], and that the "battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced." (The Time is at Hand, 1881, emphasis added. The date was changed to 1914 in a later edition.)

Armageddon is in 1914

 " . . . the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878[3], and that the "battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 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, 1889,...).

Much of the page has to do with the JWs and how they constantly change their teachings and thus is not actually related to Charles Taze Russell (who was never a member of the JWs) or the Bible Students. It is not our purpose here to defend the JW organization, but we do defend Brother Russell regarding any false or misrepresenting statements made about him.

However, since there was no edition of The Time Is At Hand until 1889, there is evidently something wrong with the above. Obviously, the author has gotten the editions confused.

The first quote actually appears to be from the 1911 edition, in which the date 1914 was changed to 1915 in some places. There were changes on page 101 that were made in the 1911 edition that Brother Russell evidently never authorized, as can be seen from many of his other statements at that time.

Nevertheless, page 101 in the 1899 edition reflects Russell’s view before 1904. The original on page 101 reads:
That the “battle of the great day of God Almighty ” (Rev. 16: 14.), which will end in A. D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.”
This was changed in the 1911 edition to:
That the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.
Anyone familiar with Russell's statements elsewhere in the Watch Tower, sermons, etc, at that time, would know that Brother Russell no longer believed that the "battle of the great day of God Almighty" had already commenced in 1874, as he did before 1904. Brother Russell never fully updated his Studies to reflect his change of viewpoint in 1904. From his writings in the Watch Tower and elsewhere, we can see that from 1904 onward Russell was not expecting Armageddon (the time of trouble) to commence until October of 1914.

There were several instances in which 1914 was changed to 1915 in the 1911 editions that Russell apparently never authorized. Russell usually reported changes made in the pages of the Watch Tower. He never reported any change to page 101 of The Time Is At hand.

Today, most editions of the The Time Is At Hand retains the 1915 error on page 101. The only edition we know that has made changes to reflect Russell's change of viewpoint is that of Paul S. L. Johnson. Johnson's 1937 edition reads:

Johnson’s 1937 edition therefore reads:
that the “battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev 16:14) will begin in A.D. 1914, and that it will end in the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership.
We have more related to this at:
https://rlctr.blogspot.com/2016/11/jworg.html
https://rlctr.blogspot.com/2017/01/changesstudies.html

In 1915, however, Russell evidently separated the actual battle of the great day from being the entire "time of trouble," and began to realize that the battle is the final phase of the time of trouble. Nevertheless, he died in 1916, still holding to the belief that the time of trouble had begun in 1914.

Unlike the JW leadership, however, Russell did not assume authority so as to demand that all Bible Students had to accept his conclusions. Russell's Watch Tower did not act as a central governing authority while Russell was alive.