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.
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VOL. V. PITTSBURGH, PA., MARCH, 1884. NO. 8
Herald of Christ's Presence
ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL
"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11
PUBLISHED MONTHLY AT
101 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa.
C. T. RUSSELL, Editor and Publisher.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
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....