The claim is made that Russell “introduced occultism into his religion by teaching that the pyramids in Egypt are divine omens.” This falsehood has even been placed in a book, entitled, Spiritual Rape Exposing the Hidden. (page 14)
The statement and often its context have been quoted over and over across many forums on the web, and although many have pointed out the falsity of the statements, the site owners continue to display such statements of deception, thus promoting such false claims. However, we find that almost every sentence misrepresents the facts, putting the matter politely.
The statement quoted above contains at least two errors, and appears on several sites:
(1) Russell did not introduce “occultism” into his religion, not unless you mean that he adopted the religion of the Bible, which the Bible itself states remains a secret to the world. This would reflect a usage of the word occult as simply meaning secret, not related to heathen occultism.
(2) Russell did not teach that “the pyramids in Egypt are divine omens.”
Russell’s study of the Great Pyramid (not “pyramids” — plural) in Egypt had nothing to do with demonic /heathen occultism, nor with pagan heathen worship. The word “occultism” is defined as “a belief in supernatural powers and the possibility of bringing them under human control.” The implication of the the word in most Christian circles is that demonic spirits are used, a form of witchcraft (crafty wisdom). Russell never believed in, nor taught such an idea. Indeed, he was very active in warning against forms of witchcraft, occultism, spiritism (talking with the dead), etc.
Russell never spoke of any pyramid in Egypt as being a “divine omen.”
It is claimed that Russell taught that “they [the pyramids of Egypt]” contained prophetic secrets known only to him.” Again, the false idea of “pyramids” — plural — is presented. Russell was interested in only one pyramid, not pyramids.
I have not been able to find where he ever made such a claim that the Great Pyramid contained prophetic secrets known only to him. Of course, in what he had found in his studies that added to, or was different from, what others had written before him, he could have claimed that what he had written did have information not found in the studies of authors before him. He never claimed sole proprietorship on the study of the Great Pyramid, however, as can be seen by his announcements and recommendations of the Edgars’ studies on the Great Pyramid (which did not fully agree with his own conclusions as presented in the Studies in the Scriptures).
The phrase is used that Russell was “convinced of their [the pyramids of Egypt] mystic power.” First, Russell was not convinced of any mystic power of any pyramid in Egypt, and certainly not “pyramids” [plural]. He never wrote of any “mystic power” associated with the Great Pyramid, or any other pyramid. This is totally a false and misleading statement, designed to malign and misrepresent what Russell actually did teach.
It is additionally claimed that one of Russell’s “strangest” revelations from pyramids [plural] was concerning the year 1914. It is further claimed that the year 1914 was “based on his measurements of the interior passageways of the pyramids [plural].” The author persists in in several false statement here. First, the years 1914 was not “based” on the interior passageways of the pyramids [plural], nor even on the passageways of the Great Pyramid [singular]. N. H. Barbour arrived at the date based on several prophetic statements of the Bible, not from the measurements of the Great Pyramid, although some measurements of the Great Pyramid were found to corroborate the date..
It is further claimed that Russell had said that 1914 would be the end of the world. Russell never made such a statement. Search as one may, he never spoke of the “end of the world” as coming in 1914. Early in the year 1914, due to some making such a claim for him, he presented an article in “Bible Student Monthly”:
Note that Russell plainly states that he was not expecting the “end of the world” in 1914. The main things that he was expecting were the end of the Gentiles Times and the beginning of the time of trouble.
One could claim some of Russell’s statements before 1904 to mean that he was expecting the end of the world in 1914, although even before 1904 Russell was not expecting what many thought of as the “end of the world” in 1914, nor did he view anything he said as meaning that the world was to end in 1914. Nevertheless, before 1904, Russell was expecting that 1914 would bring the end of the time of trouble; in 1904, however, he reversed that, so he came to understand that the end of the Gentile Times would see, not the end of the time of trouble, but rather the beginning of the time of trouble.
Then we are presented with another false claim that “when his 1914 date for the end of the world failed, he tried to cover his tracks.” Of course, since Russell was not expecting the end of the world to come in 1914, he had nothing to cover up regarding such.
As an alleged proof that Russell tried to cover up his tracks, the author of the page presents excerpts from two different editions of Thy Kingdom Come, one from 1897 and another 1916, along with either deliberate or ignorant misrepresentation of the facts. The end result is a deception, regardless of whether deliberate or not. The presentation of the two editions in the manner presented is with evident design to make it appear that since the end of the world did not come in 1914, that Russell, upon having realized this error, in the year 1916, he changed the measurement of the floor of the descending passageway. The fact is that Russell had made this change long before 1914, and this change was noted in the The Watch Tower of September 15, 1909. Thus, this change does NOT at all represent any cover-up concerning 1874 or 1914. Russell still kept both dates, and continued to believe until the day he died that Jesus had returned invisibly in 1874 and the Gentile Times did indeed end in 1914. And thus a deception is actually being presented, since this change in the book, Thy Kingdom Come, was made, not in 1916, as one is led to believe by the statement given, but as early as the 1905 edition of Thy Kingdom Come, nine years before, not after 1914.
Then we are given a reference to the “Chart of the Ages” which is alleged to “promote his strange mix of of biblical theology and occultic pyramidology.” The “Chart of the Ages”, however, of itself, has nothing at all to do with “pyramidology”, or the “Great Pyramid”. Like many similar charts, it does utltlize pyramids to not the progression of God’s purposes as given in the Bible. The chart was Russell’s method of giving a eye’s view of the divine plan as presented in the scriptures as he understood it.
This is also followed with that statement that this is Russell’s occult chart that is still being used by Jehovah’s Witnesses today. Two more deceptions are being spread upon the public. The chart has nothing whatsoever to do with spiritualistic occultism, nor do the Jehovah’s Witnesses still use this chart today, as the JWs reject Russell’s teachings on the Divine Plan of the Ages.
More on this can be found at:
Originally published April 2008, updated and republished April 2014.
Many are making all kinds of unsubstantiated claims about Charles Taze Russell. One of the claims that I keep seeing in forums, blogs and websites, is that Russell predicted the end of the world in 1874. One claims that “Watchtower society false prophets declared the end of world in 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914,”, which, of course, leaves the false impression that Russell predicted the end of the world was to come in 1874. In reality, he never predicted the end of the world for 1874, 1878, 1881, nor 1910. One could read into Russell’s earlier statements that he was expecting the end of the world for 1914, but from 1904 onward, Russell was definitely NOT expecting the end of the world for 1914.
Another states that Russell had a falling out with Barbour “over (what else?) dates for the end of the world! (1844 and 1874“, which is totally false.
Russell never “predicted” anything at all concerning 1874. Why do we say this? Because until 1876 he did not believe anything at all concerning the year 1874. in 1876, two years after 1874, Russell did come across N. H. Barbour’s presentation that Jesus had already returned invisibly in 1874. Having already concluded that Jesus would not return in a physical body, Russell was interested in what this said. As a result of studying with N. H. Barbour, Russell became convinced that Jesus had already returned in 1874. However, before 1876 he was held no interest in 1874, and certainly never predicted the end of the world in 1874 sometime before he ever accepted 1874 (in 1876, two years after 1874) as being the year of Christ’s return. In other words, how could he “predict” something to happen after it was supposedly to have been predicted to happen?
In reality, Russell did not even believe in the “end of the world”, as that term was usually used to mean the “end of human history,” or the end of the planet earth. He denied that there would ever be an end to “human history,” or to the planet earth.
He believed that the expression “end of the world” as it appears in the King James Version should have been rendered “end of the age”. He believed that the end of the age referred to a period of time, not to a single event. He viewed the “end of the age” as a transitional period of time “between the ages”. He believed that the “end of the age” had begun in 1874. Earlier in his ministry he did believe that the transition would be over in 1914, but in 1904 — ten years 1914 — he had come to see that the scriptures do not say exactly when the transition was to end.
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While I am not with the JWs, the following is the response I gave concerning statements made about Charles Taze Russell.
I am including more links here than in my response on that blog:
The Jehovah’s Witnesses and its present “Jehovah’s visible organization” and “Armageddon” dogma was actually started by Joseph Rutherford. Charles Taze Russell did not believe in such an organization, nor did he believe in the Armageddon message that is preached by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Russell believed that Armageddon was to abe a period of time in which the people of the nations would be chastised in preparation for their coming blessing; he did not believe that Armageddon was to bring eternal destruction upon them.
Russell was the main founder of the legal entity, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, but that entity in his day served more as a facilitator. Russell refused to allow it to dictate to the congregations, even to those congregations that had elected him as their Pastor. Russell did not attempt establish any new religion, believing that the true religion was Christianity as it had been established by Jesus and the apostles.
In 1915, he published (in the Bible Students Monthly) his sermon on St. Peter’s Keys in which denounced sectarianism, and the idea that any “outward organization” is the true church, claiming that the true church consisted of saints, irrespective of denomational barriers. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, of which Russell was the main founder, was virtually destroyed after Russell died and replaced with a “new organization”, thereby laying the foundation for Rutherford to create his “Jehovah’s visible organization” dogma. By 1928, the vast majority of the Bible Students movement had rejected Rutherford’s “Jehovah’s visible organization” dogma.
Getting back to Russell’s earlier years, after having a short period of doubts about the Bible, around 1870 Russell came into contact with some of the Second Adventists, his faith in the Bible, and Biblical Christianity, was restored. He did not, however, at that time, accept any of the “date setting” that many of the Second Adventists were advocating, and he rejected their teaching of the end of the world. Sometime before 1874, Russell came to the conclusion, however, that since Jesus sacrificed his flesh for our sins, that Jesus would not return in the flesh, but in the spirit.
Around 1876, Russell was attracted to the studies of Nelson Barbour when he found that Barbour had reached a similar conclusion. Thus, in 1876, Russell accepted Barbour’s conclusion that Christ had returned in 1874. Since Russell did not accept any date for Christ’s return until 1876 (about two years after 1874), Russell did not have anything to say before 1874 about Christ’s returning in 1874. As far as Russell is concerned, there was no “that did not happen”, nor did Russell ever predict that Christ was to return on any other dates. Russell died in 1916, still holding to the belief that Christ had returned in 1874. Many Bible Students, myself included, also believe that Christ did return in 1874.
Russell taught that no one should be his followers, but that saints should be followers of Christ.
As to whether there was any considerable number of his associates who lost respect for Russell at the close of his life, this appears to be pure conjecture. Indeed, at the close of his life, reports of attendance at the meetings showed large increases, not a decrease.
Russell lost two cases which have been given a lot of notorious publicity, not pertaining to slander, but which Russell filed for libel. Due to the distortion of facts as presented by J. J. Ross and The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and the wide-spread distribution of those distortions, most of the public know very little about the actual facts.
I could not find any record, however, of any considerable number of the Bible Students having lost respect for Russell over those court losses. I could find where some withdrew association from Russell over many other matters, such as teaching on the new covenant, universalism, etc.
Nevertheless, as I stated, the vast majority of the Bible Students rejected Rutherford’s “Jehovah’s visible organization” dogma, and the Bible Students movement continues to exist today. They did not become “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and do not teach the dogma of join us or be eternally destroyed in Armageddon that Rutherford taught.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
A blogger has presented a post entitled “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, under the category “Charles Taze Russell”. Much of the post has to do with Charles Taze Russell, however, and no distinction is being made between the Russell’s conclusions and the dogmatism of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ leadership. Much of what is being stated is in error, or is misleading, so we have decided to address most of what has been posted. No doubt, the poster does believe that what he/she has posted to be without error, and probably received much of the information from unreliable sources.
The “Church” of The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
The claim is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses church was known soley as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society until 1931. Actually, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in the days of Charles Taze Russell was not “a church”.
Russell’s view of the church was that members of the true church could be found amongst all denominations. Russell was a non-sectarian who did not believe the true church to be any such legal entity, not even the WTS. Those associated with Russell, however, generally called themselves “Bible Students”, not the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. After Russell died, Rutherford, by means of deceit and legal trickery, gained control of the legal entity and used it to begin creating a religious organization, which organization he dubbed “Jehovah’s organization.” By 1928, the Bible Students in general, represented by the vast majority, had rejected Rutherford’s “Jehovah’s organization” dogma.
See also the links provided at:
Focus on Charles Taze Russell – Church Organization
It is being alleged the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society began in 1876; this date is incorrect, since the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society did not actually begin until 1881, and then, not as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, but as “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society”; it was renamed in 1896 as “The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society)
It is claimed that Russell had some “unorthodox ideas” about the Bible. This is true, if by “orthodox” one simply accounts man’s self-proclaimed “orthodoxy” to be “orthodox”. I is claimed that Russell “read things into” the Bible which are not typically read into the Bible. Actually, Russell, by showing what the Bible says and what it does not say as related to much of man’s self-proclaimed orthodoxy, did indeed come to the conclusion that many of the doctrines of men were in conflict with the Bible. Russell demosntrated from the Bible itself how many of doctrines have to be added to, and read into, the Bible, and, if they were true, would actually negate the basis of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus as revealed in the Bible.
Did Russell Write the New World Translation?
It is being claimed that although Russell was “very amateur in Greek and Hebrew”, that he wrote the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Actually, Russell did NOT write the JWs’ New World Translation of the Bible, nor any other translation of the Bible. Russell was never a member of the JW organization, and he was not alive when the JWs produced that translation. Russell generally used various translations already available.
It is further claimed that Russell claimed to have written by New World Translation through inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is evidently confusing the claims of Joesph Smith (of the Mormons) with Russell. Russell, of course, never wrote the New World Translation at all, and he never claimed to have written anything as being “inspired” by the Holy Spirit.
Russell disclaimed that his writings were inspired, or that his conclusions were infallible. Russell never taught anyone to NOT question his conclusions. Indeed, not all the Bible Students associated with Russell agreed with all of his conclusions, and this is still true to this day. Indeed, despite the claims of some, I have not met one Bible Student who agrees 100% with all that Russell presented.
Additionally, although Russell himself was never trained in Hebrew or Greek, Russell was assisted by Paul S. L. Johnson, who had been thoroughly trained in both Biblical languages.
Did Russell Claim That His Writings Were “Inspired” by the Holy Spirit?
It is claimed that New World Translation is not the only “inspired” writings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses; it is stated: “In 1879, the first of these was ‘The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom’. This is incorrect on two counts. The magazine that Russell created in 1879 was entitled “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence”, not “The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom”. Russell disclaimed that his writings were “inspiried”. Russell stated:
“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.” (Watch Tower, June, 1893)
Russell and Armageddon
One should first note that Russell did not believe in the Armageddon that is taught by the JWs. Indeed, he preached against such an Armageddon. His view of Armageddon was that it was to be a period of time in which the peoples of the nations are chastised (not eternally destroyed, as the JWs preach) in preparation for their being blessed by Jesus. Thus, in his expectations, from 1904 to 1908, that the time of trouble was to begin in 1914, Russell was not expecting the all of a sudden Satan’s kingdom would be destroyed and that all unbelievers would be eternally destroyed. He was expecting that the time of trouble would begin and that it would end some time after 1914. History shows that the world did indeed come into a time of trouble in 1914, and that we have been that time of trouble ever since.
Russell and “Jehovah”
It is claimed that the JWs teach that if you do not call God “Jehovah” that you are not actually praying to God, but are committing idolatry.
Jehovah is One Person
The statement is made that the JWs believe that Jehovah is One Person, and the JWs believe that Jesus is Michael. Russell would agree that Jehovah is one person, since that is what we find in the Bible. Jesus revealed that his God and Father is “the only true God.” (John 17:1,3) Russell found and demonstrated that from beginning to end in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is always presented as being one person or individual, and never as being more than one person or individual. It is only by calling upon the spirit of human imagination so as to formulate a lot of assumptions beyond what is actually written, and then reading those assumptions into the scriptures, that one can “see” trinity in any scripture presented.
It is claimed that the JWs teach that although Jesus suffered for sins, good works are also necessary to merit salvation. Russell taught that salvation from sin and death in Adam is only through the atonement, the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. Russell did not teach any one will be saved in any other way. Nevertheless, forms of the terms “save” and “salvation” in the Bible are not always referring to being saved from sin and death in Adam.
God’s Holy Spirit
Brother Russell did not believe in a “literal hell” of literal fire and literal brimstone, if that is what is meant by “literal hell”. One could say, however, that Brother Russell did believe in the “literal hell” as described in Ecclesiastes 9:10. Russell, however, realized the differences between hades – sheol, Gehenna, and tartaroo. We have expounded more on this on our site: Life Now and Hereafter
The statement is made concerning the Jehovah’s Witnesses that they believe that the blood of no one else should enter your body. While this is a belief of the JWs, this belief did nor originate from Charles Taze Russell. See our study, “Blood Transfustions and the Bible“, where we have presented Russell’s views and our views regarding eating blood and blood transfusions.
Birthdays and Holidays
It is stated that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays and holidays. Brother Russell never assumed any authority to tell anyone whether they should or should not celebrate birthdays and holidays. Our thoughts on holidays and idolatry may be at present found on Focus on Idolatry Subdomain. However, God willing, that domain is soon to be dismantled and all posts will be transferred to the Christian Living Subdomain.
Brother Russell never presented the thought that any sign of patriotism itself was to be considered idolatry, although we are sure that he would have agreed that patriotism can become idolatry if taken to extremes.
From the standpoint of Brother Russell, since he never gave any prophecies, he never had any failed prophecies. Russell presented his conclusions and expectations as related to many Bible prophecies, but he disclaimed that his conclusions and expectations should be considered as “prophecies”.
End of the World in 1914
It was stated that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had predicted the end of the world for 1914. Since there was no Jehovah’s Witnesses organization before 1914, that organization could not have predicted anything. Were the Bible Students expecting the end of the world for 1914? Russell himself directly stated that he was not expecting the end of the world for 1914. From 1914 forward, Russell had been expecting that the time of trouble — not the end of the world — was begin in 1914. Russell, however, did not state his expectations as though he were the “authority” for an organization, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization.
End of the Word in 1916
In saying that the Jehovah’s Witnesses claimed that the end of the world was to come in 1916, since there was actually no Jehovah’s Witnesses organization before 1916, the thought is indirectly implied that Russell was expecting the end of the world in 1916. In looking through Russell’s writings and the writings of other Bible Students before 1916, we have not found where either Russell or anyone else was expecting anything at all for 1916.
End of the World in 1918
Again, by stating the Jehovah’s Witnesses were expecting the end of the world in 1918, the thought is implied that Russell claimed that the end of the world was to come in 1918. Actually, although Brother Russell once suggested that the end of harvest could end in 1918, we have not found any place where he ever said that he was expecting “the end of the world” in 1918. Some may surmise such a thought from the book, The Finished Mystery, but that book was not written by Brother Russell.
End of the World in 1920
It was stated that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had predicted the end of the world for 1920. Between 1916, when Russell died, and 1920, Rutherford had already begun to create his “organization”, although it had no yet taken the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. As best as we are able to determine, the date 1920 was first introduced in 1905, when Brother Russell presented some parallels of Brother E. G. Lee, which indicated that the time of trouble was to last from 1914 to 1920, and also the parallels of John Edgar, which indicated that time of trouble would last from 1914 to 1915. Russell, however, had stated that time prophecies only bring us to the year 1914, and he did have any indication from any time prophecies as to how long he time of trouble was to last beyond 1914. One could surmise that Brother Lee’s parallels would mean that Satan’s kingdom would be fully gone in 1920, although such was never stated; Russell himself, however, maintained that “following that trouble would come the reign of righteousness, blessings, increase of knowledge, God’s favor among men, and the living nations would all be more or less brought to a knowledge of the Lord. How long that would require I do not know.” (1911, What Pastor Russell Said, Q589:3.
End of the World in 1925
1925 is another date that some Bible Students, long before 1914 had presented with various expectations. Although Rutherord, after Russell died, made much ado about 1925, Russell, before he died, had stated that he held no expectations at all concerning that date.
Russell held no expectations for 1941, 1975, 1984, 1994, nor for the year 2000.
The author then begins to present a lot of standard assumptions that he has evidently borrowed from others that have to be added to scriptures presented in an effort to defend the trinity and other doctrines. We will simply, for the most part, offer links to where we have discussed these assumptions elsewhere:
The Holy Name = commonly given in English as: Yahweh, Jehovah, Ehyeh
ELOHIM does not mean three parts all of whom are equal to the whole, as claimed for the trinity dogma. If ELOHIM means more than one person in one God, and one also believes that Jesus is called ELOHIM in Psalm 45:6, then, to be consistent, one would have to believe that Jesus is more than one person. Genesis 1:2, however, by using the phrase “spirit of God [ELOHIM]”, demonstrates conclusively that ELOHIM does not mean three persons.
The “worse punishment” of Hebrews 10:29 is that of being without any further redemption (Hebrews 10:26) for those who have been sanctified in the blood of Jesus, and then who willfully trample upon Jesus. This punishment is worse than that of the punishment of those of Old Testament times (Hebrews 10:28) because the curse (condemnation) under the Law is coverd by the blood of Jesus. — Galatians 3:13.
Jesus gave the parody of the Rich Man and Lazarus in connection with the thought that the Law and the Prophets were until John the Baptist. — Luke 16:16.
The presentation of Jesus’ humanity to his God was not completed until after his ascension. (Hebrews 8:4,5; 9:14,24-28) If Jesus is still a human being, then either Jesus did not complete his sacrificial offering for sin (Ephesians 5:2), or else he took back that offering for sin; either way, we would be left without a redeemer. — Luke 22:19; John 6:51; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 11:24; 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18.
Regarding the other various points raised, see the respective subdomains and pages linked to at:
This is a response to many statements being made concerning Charles Taze Russell on the Freeminds.org site, under the title: “Rubenstein, Disney, Russell and Rutherford: LEGACY EXAMINED”, by Terry Walstrom. We do not attack Mister Walstrom personally; we believe, however, that he is in error on many things reported in the article. We are only replying to the statements concerning Russell. Much of the language of the article seems to be designed to charge the emotions of the reader to accept what is being said to be fact, so that the reader will not think to read what Russell actually did teach and believe.
Russell is described as a “rank amateur” in comparison with whoever is not named as being “intellectually honest professionals”. Anyone who is genuinely familiar with Russell’s works, however, would state otherwise.
The Faithful and Wise Servant
It is claimed that Russell “accepted without protest that he was viewed by his followers as the very fulfillment of Matthew 24:45, the ‘faithful and wise servant’ appointed over the household of true believers at the end of the age.” This is partially true, as Russell allowed all to draw their own conclusions. He presented his view that the “faithful and wise servant” was the all who were associated with the Watch Tower and its work, but he also presented the view of those who applied it to himself personally. He admitted that he sought to avoid discussion of the matter; we believe if he had taken the time to examine the scriptures without the influence of others, he would have been able to see that Jesus was simply using the servants to illustrate various individuals amongst his followers, his servants. However, for several years before his death, he was suffering from multiple illnesses, and with much else with which he had to attend to, the matter of the “faithful and wise servant” probably was considered a matter of little interest to him at that time. Russell did, however, did, in 1910, make a statement against seeing Brother Russell in the Bible.
See our studies:
Ruler of All the Lord’s Goods
It is claimed that Russell’s own Watch Tower describes Russell as the “Ruler of all the Lord’s goods.” An electronic search of the Bible Students Library DVD reveals that Russell never used this expression at all. We do find such a claim being made for Russell in Rutherford’s Watch Tower in 1923. Russell’s Watch Tower, of course, ceased to exist when Russell died.
Russell Lost His Faith Altogether?
It is claimed that by age 16, “Russell lost his faith altogether.” No, it would not be correct to say that Russell “lost his faith altogether.” Russell did question what he had learned from the self-appointed “orthodoxy” of his time. Russell was right in questioning his faith in the teachings of man, especially those teachings that would depict the Creator as a fiendish demon as in such doctrines as the supposed indescribable eternal sufferings of billions of men, women, children, infants, etc., who died without believing in Jesus.
Of course, as he pointed out, he thought that these teachings were actually a part of the Bible, and thus, believing this, his faith concerning the Bible also came into doubt. Once he learned that the Bible did not teach such blasphemous doctrines such as the eternal indescribable suffering of most of mankind, as well as the trinitarian dogma, and that it did teach that Christ died for all, he was right in taking up the Biblical stand for the truth concerning these matters.
Russell Questioned His Faith
Life Now and Hereafter
Jesus and His God
Russell Heard a Lecture About the End Times?
It is being claimed that Russell heard a lecture about the End Times and the Second Coming of Jesus “to punish the non-believers and the reward the faithful.” This is a reference to Russell’s hearing a lecture by Jonas Wendell in 1870. The implication appears to be that Russell accepted Wendell’s teaching regarding the unbelievers being destroyed at Christ’s return, and as a result, “his keen self-interest was kindled.” The way this is presented is highly misleading, to say the least. Russell never stated what Wendell spoke on that night; we do not know if Wendell spoke on ‘time of the end’, Christ’s Return and/or something else. If Wendell had spoken about “Christ’s return to punish non-believers, it would seem that this message would have not have given Russell any reason to turn again to the Bible, not unless Russell became interested in order to rebuke Wendell’s error. Russell rejected Wendell’s view concerning the return of Christ, and Wendell’s view that Christ’s return would destroy all unbelievers, and that only a faithful few would be left. Indeed, as he stated later, “I have been a Bible student since I first had my attention called to the second coming of our Lord, by Jonas Wendel, a Second Advent Preacher, about 1869, who was then preaching the burning of the world as being due in 1873. But though he first awakened my interest on the subject, I was not a convert, either to the time he suggested nor to the events he predicted.” Indeed, all through the rest of his life until he died, Russell preached against the kind of “events” that Wendell preached were to happen at Christ’s return. Russell stated:
We reasoned that, if Christ’s coming were to end probation, and bring irrevocable ruin upon ninety-nine in a hundred of mankind; then it could scarcely be considered desirable, neither could we pray with proper spirit, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come quickly!” We had rather request–much as we should “love his appearing”–that he remain away and our sufferings and trials continue so that “if by any means we might save some.” Not only so, but great masses of scripture referring to the Millennial glory and teaching that “All nations which thou hast made shall come and worship before thee,” &c., &c., would be left unfulfilled if at His coming there should be a wreck of matter and a crush of world.
Supplement to the First Issue of the Watch Tower
No, Russell did not believe in Wendell’s teaching that Christ’s return was to eternally destroy all unbelievers. Thus, the statement that Russell’s “keen self-interest was kindled” leads one to false conclusions.
Did Russell By-Pass the Legitimate Foundation of the Christian Religion?
It is being claimed that since Russell did not apply for a diligent study of theology at Harvard or Yale, etc., that Russell by-passed the legitimate foundation of the Christian religion in order to study with Adventists. Actually, Russell by-passed all of man’s theology to study the true foundation of the Christian religion, that is, that which is revealed in the Bible itself. And what do we read therein? “No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11) The Bible is not what is “marginal belief“; the true “maginal beliefs” are those beliefs that have to imagined, assumed, added to, and read into the Bible, such as the dogma of inherent human immortality of the soul, eternal conscious suffering, trinity, etc. Russell recognized at an early age that man’s theology was no longer Christ-centered, but rather was centered on man’s own philosophies, doctrines and practices, held to by tradition.
Russell Quotes Concerning the Bible
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.” Thus growing in grace and knowledge for seven years, the year 1876 found us.
Supplement to the First Issue of the Watch Tower
If one reads what Russell stated, one should note that up until 1876, Russell was not interested in the “dates” of any of the Adventists. For seven years he had studied the Bible itself without any such interest; it was in these seven years that Russell had come to a basic understanding of the basis of Christ’s ransom sacrifice, that Christ was not to return in the flesh, and of the blessings of all the families of earth after Christ’s return. It was not until around 1876 (about two years after 1874), that Russell adopted Barbour’s views concerning any of the dates. At that time, he came to accept that Christ had already returned in 1874. Russell never claimed that the chronology and conclusions regarding time prophecy that he presented was infallible; indeed, he stated just the opposite. Nevertheless, if the dates are correct, and we believe they are, then they are not “wrong dates”. It is stated that “Adventist amateurs” had set and abandoned “wrong dates” again and again. Nothing is given to verify this statement, so we have nothing for which to respond. We can only ask, who are these “Adventists”, and what dates, specifically, are being referred to?
We should note, however, that the Adventist movement started within the denominational churches. What is often called the Millerite movement was actually within the protestant churches, especially within the Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Campbellite churches. The movement was not separate from the denominational, trinitarian, protestant churches, as many often try to depict, but was within those churches. Thus, it would seem that many of those whom Mr. Walstrom evidently thinks to be “genuine intellectually honest professionals” of these churches were involved in the Millerite movement. Mr. Walstrom, however, states, evidently using irony: “How wrong the legitimate established church was in refusing to listen to their theories!!” He does not explain what he believes “the legitimate established church” to be, so we cannot draw any definite conclusions from this statement. From his later statement, we assume that he believes what he calls “protestantism” to be “the legitimate established church”. At any rate, if he believes that the Baptist churches, the Presbyterian churches, etc., are part of the “legitimate established church”, then he is in error in saying that they refused to listen to “their theories”, since Miller’s teachings spread within many of the “Protestant” churches of his day, in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
What did Russell believe to be the true church? Many Jehovah’s Witnesses might fully surprised to find out. Click here to find out what Russell actually believed to be the true church.
Was Russell as Second Adventist?
Every true Christian should believe in the “second advent” of Christ. In this sense, Russell was certainly a believer that Christ was to return and bless all the families of the earth. Did Russell consider himself to be of the “Second Adventist” movment? No, he never accepted, nor believed in, the teachings usually associated with the Second Adventists, especially their view that the Second Advent was to end probation — that is, that the Second Advent would mean the eternal destruction of all the unbelievers.
The article states things out of historical context to reach wrong conclusions. It is stated that Russell “abandoned an established church for a freewheeling one to then become a non-believer who was now a Second Advent enthusiast.” Russell did indeed become a “second advent” enthusiast because he learned what the scriptures actually state about Christ’s return, that the return of Christ was bring in the “times of restitution”, the blessing of all the families of the earth. The way the statement is presented, however, makes it appear that Russell was now preaching the message that those usually called “Second Adventists” preached, whereas, the reality is that Russell was preaching a message that was almost the opposite of what was generally preached by the “Second Adventists”. Indeed, the seven years of Russell’s study before 1876 is totally ignored.
It is claimed that Russell cobbled together any and every crackpot idea that appealed to him, etc. It is apparent that Mr. Walstrom is not very familiar with what Russell actually did teach, and thus, as far as this goes, we believe Mr. Walstrom is drawing upon his own imagination as to what he “thinks” Russell taught. It is claimed that Russell created a publishing corporation because he wanted to create fame as a world renowned pastor and teacher. Again, this ignores a lot of historical facts. If Barbour had not began to teach erroneous doctrines and refused to allow Russell’s articles to be printed, Russell may not have ever started the Watch Tower magazine. Russell started the Watch Tower, however, to counter the prevalent teachings amongst the Adventists, that is, that Christ’s return was end probation for millions of the unsaved. Again, if one is truly familiar with Russell’s writings, one would know that that Mr. Walstrom is in error in the motives that he gives to Russell.
See Russell’s works online at:
Most Holy Faith
Mr. Walstom claims that Russell had no ministerial training; this is not true, for as we have seen, by 1876, he already had seven years of training. Of course, Mr. Walstrom is not speaking of Biblical ministerial training, but extra-Biblical training by men in man’s traditions.
Ross’ Alleged Facts About Russell
Again, Mr. Walstrom ignores all the studying that Russell had done, and falsely leaves the impression of Russell as though he had no learning of the Bible, of the original languages of the Bible, or church history. The claim is made that rather than study such matters, Russell “was TEACHING as though he KNEW already what others had to labor intensively to discover!!” No mention is made of the intense training and study that Russell had as a lad, nor of his later training that he had in the “seven years” we mentioned earlier. Russell did not reach his conclusions without a long period of intensive labor to discover what the Bible actually states. Russell is derided because he chose not to be trained in the schools that indoctrinate with the false doctrines of men.
It is claimed that Russell believed that he was being used by God as above all others. Russell did indeed believe that God had used him in a special way; he was nor arrogant, however, in this, although some, by quoting him out of context, have made him appear to have been arrogant. Nor did Russell claim that Christians had to believe him or else they were not Christian.
Did Russell Give Out That He Himself Was Some Great One?
When Russell wrote his will, he endeavored to keep the Watch Tower Society from becoming what it did become. Rutherford ignored Russell’s will, created new by-laws and proceeded to create an organization which Russell preached against, and then Rutherford introduced an Armageddon doctrine similar to that of the Adventists, which doctrine Russell also preached against.
It is made to appear that Russell had predicted Christ’s return several times (although this is not directly stated), and that after several “wrong date predictions”, Russell came up with the “invisible Jesus” idea. Actually, Russell had already come to realize that Jesus was to return as a spirit being before he had any interest at all in time prophecies. It was not until 1876, two years after 1874, that Russell accepted that Christ had already returned in 1874. He held to that belief until he died in 1916. He did not, therefore, present any “wrong date predictions” at all about Christ was to return. He was not, as many have falsely stated, expecting Christ to return in 1878, 1881, 1914, 1915, etc. It is true that some of what he was expecting for these dates did not happen, but this does not mean that the dates are wrong. Russell, however, was never a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization, and did not offer his expectations as being an “authority” in such an organization; he freely admitted that he could be wrong in his expectations.
JW Claims and Russell’s Expectations Regarding 1914
CTR’s Expectations Concerning 1914
While Russell probably would never claim to have been the founder of the Bible Students movement, he certainly was very influential in the founding of the many locals schools of Bible classes throughout many countries. It is not unfamiliar to Bible Students to refer to their local churches as “classes”, thus upon meeting a Bible Student, one may ask, “What class are you associated with?”
The statement is made that Russell did not believe that there was any afterward, and that he, along with Rutherford, believed “only the certainty of Armageddon obliteration!” And it is stated concerning both Russell and Rutherford, “Those who read their writings lived a life of constant fear of destruction, shunning, condemnation and toil because no assurance of salvation…” This would seem to retrospectively attribute Rutherford’s dogma concerning Armageddon to Russell, which, in reality, Russell taught almost the opposite of what Rutherford taught regarding Armageddon.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
It is being claimed that the Jehovah’sWitnesses “got all their failed end time date prophecies based upon a false view and interpretation of the Mayan calendar from William Miller.” We are not with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses are being tied in with Charles Taze Russell, who was never associated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It would appear, however, to making a false claim that Russell (who is evidently thought to have been the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) based his understanding of time prophecies on the Mayan calendar, since it is being alleged that Miller obtained his “date prophecies” from a false view and interpretation of the Mayan calendar. Did Miller indeed obtain the “date prophecies” from the Mayan calendar? If so, what is the conclusion based upon?
First of all, the “date prophecies” that Miller used to draw conclusions are from the Bible. Is the Bible to assumed to be based on a false interpretation of the Mayan calendar? Miller himself gave no prophecies, but he gave his conclusions regarding evidence provided from “date prophecies” found in the Bible.
So far, we have found nothing at all to substantiate the claim that Miller used the Mayan calendar at all. The claim is given without any proof of the claim at all, except the false claim that Russell’s gravestone is a pyramid, and the false claim that this is a connection to the Freemason’ organization. If there is no further proof than these false claims, then like the imagination that is used to produce the idea that Russell was Freemason, we can only conclude that the claim that Miller used the Mayan calendar is simply thought up in someone’s imagination, and assumed to be fact based on what is being imagined. We have found no proof that Miller ever used the Mayan calendar. If such proof actually exists, we would like to know about it.
Links to Related RL Studies
Links to Related Material
We do not necessarily agree all conclusions given by the authors presented below.
Evidence From Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ by William Miller
The Time is At Hand by Charles Taze Russell
Thy Kingdom Come by Charles Taze Russell
Hastening the Day of God by Carl Hagensick
Pastor Russell Not the Founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses – North Seattle Bible StudentsRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
The above question is asked on Answerdigger.com, and several comments are made, and an answer given as the “best answer.” The answer chosen as the best answer, however, is far from correct, and contains many inaccurate statements. Since we have found no way to respond to this on the Answerdigger.com site, we decided to respond here.
The claim is that the Jehovah’s witnesses movement was started by Charles Taze Russell. This is false, since Russell did not believe in such a sectarian organization, nor in its authoritarian hierarchy. The true founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization was Joseph Rutherford. I have discussed this several times before:
The claim is made that “Charles Taze Russell used the Bible and formulated ideas and had like minded people to follow along.” Russell did indeed use the Bible, and Russell came to certain conclusions from his study of the Bible; Russell, however, unlike the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ leadership, never insisted that all consecrated Christians had to accept his conclusions.
It is claimed that 1914 was a “big drawcard” for Russell. While some may have been attracted because of the Biblical time prophecies that Russell presented, I believe that most Bible Students, like myself, were attracted to what Russell presented from the Bible regarding the “ransom for all” as shown in the book, The Divine Plan of the Ages. Russell himself considered the understanding of the atoning sacrifice to be more important than understanding of time prophecies. The Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer preach this central doctrine, but have replaced it with an alleged “Good News” that would deny any benefit from the ransom for all for billions of people, including their children.
It is claimed that Russell “divined” 1914 from the Great Pyramid. The use of the word “divined” implies a form of demonic spiritistic divination. This, of course, is totally false.
The date, 1914 was known by N. H. Barbour before Russell accepted this. Barbour, however, did not “divine” the date 1914 from the Great Pyramid; the works we have of Barbour today are limited, but it does appear that he obtained the date through study of Bible prophecy, not from the Great Pyramid, and certainly not through any practice of demonic “divination”. I notice that Barbour mentions the date of the end of the times of Gentiles in September of 1875, but the first mention of 1914 as corroborated by the Great Pyramid that I have found did not appear until January of 1876. Thus, I conclude that some time before September of 1875, Barbour had already concluded from study of the Bible that the Gentile Times were to end in 1914, and then after that he found the measurement of the Great Pyramid confirms the date 1914.
Russell, later in 1876, accepted Barbour’s studies. In 1904, evidently after considering arguments made by some of his associates, Russell deviated from Barbour’s conclusion that the time of trouble was to end in 1914. I should note, however, that Russell presented his conclusions and expectations regarding those conclusions as his own, and refrained from the authoritarian approach taken by Rutherford after Russell died.
It is claimed that “later” the year 1914 was obtained by means of “a numerologic equation” from the Bible. This is misleading on two counts: the date 1914 was evidently first obtained from study of Bible prophecy, not from the Great Pyramid. I conclude that the author has the matter backwards. The phrase “a numerologic equation” seems to be implying the claim of some connection with spiritistic numerology. Barbour did use “numbers” given in the Bible which relate to time prophecy; he did not use any form of spiritistic numerology.
The statement is made that Russell’s (alleged) “numerologic equation” [evidently meaning his studies on time prophecy) has no credence at all. This sounds like what many say of the Bible itself, for many state that the Bible “has no credence at all.” Of course, what Barbour presented and what Russell presented was several scriptural lines of credence found to be harmonious with itself, as far as the dates and the chronology is concerned. One of the greatest reasons I accept the Bible by faith is the harmonious way all writers present the seed of woman — the seed of Abraham, leading up to Christ and seed of faith in the New Testament and the blessing of all the families of the earth; likewise, one of the reasons I accept the chronology and the dates as presented by Barbour is the self-corroboration of several scriptural lines of presentation as presented by Russell, which is indeed as credible as the Bible itself, if one understands the matter. This is not to say that I agree with all conclusions of either Barbour or Russell.
It is claimed that a lot of Russell’s “ideas have gone and been done away with.” This is misleading, since it is not totally true. Most of Russell’s ideas are still being preached and held to by thousands of Bible Students. His works are still being published.
It is true that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have, for the most part, done away with the central teachings of Russell, but it is not true amongst many of the Bible Students. Many Bible Students may not agree with all that Russell taught, and some have sought to refine on his ideas, but the central things that he taught still remain.
It is claimed the date 1914 “actually failed because they initially had ideas for Armageddon to take place at this point.” This is highly misleading. Russell’s intitial understanding concerning Armageddon, which he adopted and adapted from Barbour, was that Armageddon had begun 1874, and was to last until 1914, when it was believed that peace would fill the earth. Some Bible Students objected to this, and had concluded that the end of the Gentiles would not see the end of the time of trouble, but rather the beginning of time of trouble. Russell himself adopted this latter view in 1904. Russell died in 1916 believing that the time of trouble had begun in 1914. I believe it did, and that we are still in the time of trouble to this day, and I see no failure in the date itself.
Russell, however, never believed in the kind of Armageddon that the Jehovah’s Witnesses preach, that is, the idea that all unbelievers and their children were to be eternally destroyed. This is almost the opposite of what Russell taught.
What was the teaching that attracted most to Russell? I have no doubt that it was the teaching of the ransom for all, the coming age when all nations of the earth will be blessed, etc. I, for one, am thankful to God for the works of Russell.
Addendum to Comments given:
One person comments that Russell had a new doctrine that appealed to people, with the statement following: No fire/brimstone hell and pyramid power. While Russell presented the old teaching from the Bible on the Bible hell, he never presented any doctrine at all about “pyramid power.” A search of Russell’s works shows that he never mentioned “pyramid power” at all.
Russell did, however, believe that the Great Pyramid is God’s witness in Egypt. This has nothing, however, to do with “pyramid power.”
The Bible idea of hell to this day has not been accepted by many people. The carnal mind wishes to have a doctrine that would eternally keep their enemies in some kind of suffering for all eternity; such evil doctrine does not come from spirit of God, but from the spirit of error.
Another person, using the identity “Legal Alien” states that Russell “claimed to have a better translation of the Bible.” I am not sure what this is referring to. Russell did use works of Bible scholars to show how many words from the Hebrew and Greek have often been translated to suit man’s self-appointed so-called orthodoxy. If the thought is that Russell produced his own “translation” of the Bible, Russell never claimed such, and never did such.
In court, Russell plainly stated that he was not claiming to have been trained in either Greek or Hebrew. He was not permitted to explain that he uses the works produced by those who profess themselves to be Hebrew and Greek scholars to show how words are translated.
Ross’ Alleged Facts and Perjury Accusations
“Legal Alien” claims that the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was not the begotten Son of God. I have never seen or heard any of the Jehovah’s Witnesses ever profess such a thing. I am not with the JWs, but have read many of their books, and no that this statement is false.
Regarding Russell, I know Russell did indeed believe that Jesus is the begotten Son of God. Indeed, the fact that Jesus is begotten shows that he had a beginning, for no where in the Bible do the words for begotten mean without a beginning, but always it refers to that which is in some way brought forth into being. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. — Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3.
Russell did indeed deny the God-dishonoring trinity doctrine. The trinity doctrine is nowhere to be found in the Bible, but has to be imagined, assumed, added to, and read into, each every scripture that is used to allegedly defend the added-on dogma. Indeed, if the trinity dogma is true, then there has been no redemption given to pay the wages of sin, since the trinity dogma would end up denying the basis of that Jesus’ ransom sacrifice for all.
A Christian will do well to compare the Bible itself with the dogma of man’s self-proclaimed orthodoxy and accept what the Bible says, even if it is not in harmony with what man’s self-proclaimed orthodoxy heresy teaches.