Russell's opinion about the "Signs" opposite of what's said today

by rockhound 4 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • rockhound

    What about the "composite sign" that the Society says is so much a part of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21? This sign is said to include world wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes and increasing lawlessness...Most Jehovah's Witnesses would be surprised to know that C. T. Russell held exactly the opposite opinion to what the organization holds today.

    [R596 : page 1]

    VOL. V. PITTSBURGH, PA., MARCH, 1884. NO. 8

    page 1




    Herald of Christ's Presence

    Other foundation can
    no man lay

    "Watchman, What of the Night?"

    "The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11


    101 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa.

    C. T. RUSSELL, Editor and Publisher.


    Q. Does

    Matt. 24:6 teach that "wars and rumors of wars" are a sign of the end of the Gospel Age?

    A. No; we think not. Wars and rumors of wars have characterized earth's history, with varying frequency and cruelty, ever since the fall of man. But the Scriptures assure us that the time of the end of the Gospel Age, or end of the dominion of the "prince of this world," will witness a more general and wide-spread warfare than was ever known before, involving all the powers of earth....

    So also famines and pestilences and earthquakes are not to be regarded specially as signs of the end. Though they will doubtless be frequent, and perhaps more so in the time of the end, like wars they have been a part of Satan's policy from the first.

    On another source, I found the following article by Guiness, said to be found in the Sept 1884 Watch Tower but I can't find it in the reprints. Can anyone check your sources and confirm?

    An article in the September, 1884 Watch Tower, by H. Grattan Guiness, said:

    Now consider the subject of the signs of the times. Remarks on this subject are too often made which betray a want of intelligent comprehension of the nature of the signs that are according to Scripture to indicate the "time of the end." A careless reading of our Lord's prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives seems to be the cause of much of this misapprehension. His predictions of wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, are quoted as if they and such like things were to be the signs of the end of the age. A little accurate attention to the order of his statements would at once show that, so far from this being the case, he mentions these as the characteristic and common events of the entire interval prior to his coming. Wars and calamities, persecution and apostasy, martyrdom, treachery, abounding iniquity, Gospel preaching, the fall of Jerusalem, the great tribulation of Israel, which has, as we know, extended over 1,800 years; all these things were to fill the interval, not to be signs of the immediate proximity of the second advent. How could things of common, constant occurrence be in themselves signs of any uncommon and unique crisis? What commoner all through the ages than wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes? These, as marking the course of the age, can never indicate its close....



  • jwfacts

    They are great quotes. What Russell said made much more sense than current Watchtower doctrine. We are in fact living one of the most peaceful times of all history, so for the WTS to say these days are far worse than any other is wrong historically, and from your quotes are wrong biblically as well.

    A quote I found is Studies in the Scriptures Series 4 1897 ed. p.605 it would not be inconsistent to reckon the "generation" from 1878 to 1914--36 1/2 years-- about the average of human life today."

    Mankind is considerably better off now than in Russells time, including that the life expectancy of man has doubled in just the last 100 years.

  • Lady Liberty
    Lady Liberty

    Dear Rock hound,

    Thank you for posting this valuable information!! I wonder what your average JW would think if they realized the then "faithful slave" thought nothing of the so called "signs" in relating them to our or his day?

    Love Ya Pappa,

    Lady Liberty

  • goodgifts

    Interesting find, Thanks for that.

    I was thinking about this the other day. If you read Matt 24:4-31 *** BACKWARDS*** then it harmonises with society teaching.

    In otherwords, Jesus arrives in his glory (invisably) in 1914 and from that point forward we see the development of the composite sign - more wars, more earthquakes etc. We've all heared it and may have said it ourselves said it in our talks "more people have died in the 20th century from XYZ than in any other century before......."

    Yet this is not what the bible says. Jesus describes the signs to look out for and at two points during his discussion he basically says don't be fooled though as it's "just the begining" and "the end is not yet". ***THEN*** once these things have developed and climaxed on the earth, he describes his arrival "in all it's glory".

    Everyone - all the tribes of the earth will SEE him arrive. Not just a minor religious group in America.

    In addition to this, when Jesus has finished describing these things, he refers to it as "the tribulation of those days". Hence, the problems we face on the earth today "is" the great tribulation we are supposed to be waiting for.

    Can anyone explain to me why the society thinks that the tribulation is a seperate period of suffering yet to come? Try explaining to the victims families of 9/11 that here's worse to come or a father in Africa who's watched his babies die of aids "it's gonna get worse bro"

    RANT over...


  • greendawn

    In fact Russell's concept was very different from Rutherford's which is current among the JWs today. Russell saw Armageddon as the end of human government rather than the execution of virtually the whole of mankind. And indeed there were worst times in the past with wars and destruction the 14th century was probably the worst. Likewise there famines that were just as bad before 1914.

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