Looking at the Facts – Jehovah’s Witnesses and Charles Taze Russell

Posted on January 16, 2013. Filed under: His Teachings, Is it true what they say? | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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:
Bible Students Did Not Become Jehovah’s Witnesses

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)

Unorthodox Ideas

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.

See:
Focus on Charles Taze Russell – Infallibilty

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.

See:
Ross’ Perjury Allegations

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.

See:
The Beginning of the Time of Trouble

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.

While Russell believed that the name of the God of Jesus to be Jehovah (Yahweh), he did not ever teach that “unless you call him this you are not actually praying to God, but 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.

See our own studies of Jesus and His God, which includes several concerning Jesus as being Michael the Archangel.

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

Charles Taze Russell never referred to the Holy Spirit of God as being God’s “active force”. Russell did point out how the various scriptural references to God’s Holy Spirit.

Literal Hell

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 hadessheol, Gehenna, and tartaroo. We have expounded more on this on our site: Life Now and Hereafter

Blood

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.

Patriotism

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.

Failed Prophecies

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.

Doctrines

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

Focus on the Holy Name

The Holy Name of the Most High

The Name of God

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.

Elohim – Does This Word Indicate a Plurality of Persons in a Godhead?

Genesis 1:26 – Let Us and Elohim

Hebrews 1:8 – Why is Jesus called “Elohim” and “Theos”? Psalm 45:6,7

Genesis 1:1 – Elohim Created

*******

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:
http://reslight.net

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Examining Freeminds’ Discover the Legacy

Posted on March 18, 2012. Filed under: His Teachings, Is it true what they say? | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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.

Rank Amateur

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:

The Faithful and Wise Servant and Other Servants
Parable of the Four Servants

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.
See:
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.

See:
Jonas Wendell’s 1870 Presentation
The JW Organization, Armageddon, 1914, and Russell
Armageddon and the Day of Judgment

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

Russell wrote:

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.
See:
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.
See:
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.
See:
JW Claims and Russell’s Expectations Regarding 1914
CTR’s Expectations Concerning 1914

End of the World in 1914?

The JW Organization, Armageddon, 1914, and Russell

Beginning of the Time of Trouble

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.

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