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.