Charles Taze Russel was a Zionist, yet today's WT has nothing to do with it. What happened, what scriptures do they use to defend their position and why do they talk so much about the end of the world yet when you bring up Israel, the ingathering and how the world is focused on destroying Israel and the Jews,they totally discount it as nothing.
Russel a zionist
There is a book that explores this
"Pastor Charles Taze Russell: An Early American Christian Zionist" by David Horowitz
I own it but have not read it yet. If you need a look up, let me know.
This has been much discussed here a few weeks ago but I can't find the thread.
Shortly put, Rutherford who took control of the Watchtower Society after Russell's death reversed Russell's "zionist" doctrine and policy. As a result, unlike many American fundamentalists, JWs suscribe to a kind of "substitution theology," meaning that the only Israel God is now interested in is the "spiritual Israel" (the "church," which was restricted to the "anointed Christians" by another Rutherfordian move in 1935, the doctrine of the "two classes" of believers"). In the early days of Nazi Germany, Rutherford and the Watchtower indulged in much anti-semitic talk of the times -- repeatedly linking the Jews with "Big Business" as the source of most economical and political woes for instance. Only when Rutherford's attempt to gain the favour of the Nazi regime failed he turned strongly anti-Nazi.
The ironic thing is that the whole thrust of 1914 as the end of the "times of the Gentiles" was of course bound up with Russell's Zionist expectations (i.e. that God would honor his covenant with the children of Abraham and bring them back into his favor). This is the one date the Society has kept to this day, while eliminating the rest of Russell's system. Russell inherited his Zionist expectations from the same Adventist sources he got all the rest of his eschatology, and the passage of world events in 1878 and 1914 seemed to confirm the chronology (and 1918 seemed like it was fulfilled by the Balfour Declaration. Here is a survey of early Christian Zionism and the role of dispensationalists and Adventists:
Rutherford dropped the whole thing for several reasons. The Jewish "return to Israel" was a big part of the 1925 prophecy which was an embarrassment. The Bible Students retained most of Russell's views and Rutherford strived to set his group apart as much as possible from the other Russellite groups. Rutherford also had an anti-Semitic streak and when anti-Jewish sentiments became widespread in America in the 1930s, he followed suit. He explained why Zionism was of the Devil in this way: (1) There are only two organizations, God's organization and Satan's organization, and there can be no common ground between the two, (2) Jews who are not Christians obviously cannot belong to God's organization and the Zionist movement was not supported largely by devout Jews but by those in Big Business, an arm of Satan's organization, (3) If they are not part of God's organization, they must be a part of Satan's organization, (4) Zionism must therefore be a ruse by the Devil to take attention away from God's coming kingdom and focus attention instead on a Jewish state. In fact, he even claimed that non-Christian Jews were not really Jews because only those who followed God would be heirs to the Abrahamic convenant and only the latter are really Jews.
The Governing Body actually claims to be "spiritual Jews" and they write that the other sheep are "spiritual gentiles". Without doing that it made hijacking the Jewish texts (and rewards) seem . . . . wrong.
So . . . the Governing Body claims to be Jews, while they hate Jews. Did ya ever wonder why they are confused? :-)
Why does the WT continue to use Russell in the literature long after the split between the International Bible Students and the new Organized Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Because he was an important and irreplaceable link in the chain of the "faithful and discreet slave", which has existed uninterrupted since the days of the apostles.
After he was dead and gone, the judge helped us to understand who really was the faithful and discreet slave.
If Russell were alive today, he would promptly be disfellowshipped. Not just for the Zionist leanings, either. Russell would have a major problem with the authoritarian leadership/caste system within the organization.
He wouldn't have any privileges either. Because he has a BEARD.
Here are some quotes of his about the modern restoration of Israel. http://jwfacts.com/index_files/zion.htm
I am quite surprised literal Israel does not figure in JW teachings. The restoration of the Jews this century seems to fit bible prophecy and so is accepted as such by other Christian religions. The Watchtower could easily make a song and dance about how amazing Russell was to have predicted the fulfillment in the 1900s and how it means he was spirit directed.
My CO wife of a mum actually believes that the restoration of the Jews does fulfill prophecy. When she told me I said that the JWs stopped believing that about 80 years ago, but she still believes it because she wants to.