blondie....There are some interesting quotes on the writing of the Finished Mystery book in the 1919 Souvenir Notes of the ISBA Convention. William F. Hudgings gave a talk called "Why I Accept the Seventh Volume" and he had a lengthy discussion of why the book was said to be a "posthumous" work. After comparing the book to an unfinished story that friends of Charles Dickens completed (which he admitted was rather strained as a parallel), he gave a more powerful reason why the book could properly be said to be posthumously authored by Russell:
"And when did this angel to the Laodicean period show these things to us? Before he died? Some of the things, yes. But we did not come to an understanding of all the symbols of Revelation from first to last until after his death, and how? Through the medium of the Seventh Volume of Scripture Studies. I say, therefore, that not only from the literary usage of the term, but according to the Book of Revelation, the Lord's people are justified in considering it as the posthumous work of Brother Russell, — the servant to whom the Lord had committed all His store of present truth. (Rev. 1:1; 19:10)
"He rested from his labors on the 31st day of October, 1916, but 'his works did follow on,' and he himself in commenting upon that text says that the words indicate that since 1878 those who would die would merely rest from the laborious features of the Harvest work, but the work which they were doing on this side the vail they would continue to do so on the other side. On the strength of this text he said repeatedly in THE WATCH TOWER, and elsewhere, that the saints on the other side of the vail are 'co-operating with us on this side.' Do you think that has been true? If that is true with the saints from 1878 down to the present, it is surely true with the greatest servant of the Lord in this Harvest time, our dear Pastor. I say, 'He rested from the laborious feature, but continued the Harvest work right on, and continued to cooperate with the Harvest workers from the other side, and I believe in some way the Lord has honored him to bring to your attention and mine an explanation of those symbols which John literally saw in vision.' Therefore, the words of the Revelator, as explained by our dear Pastor, have come true; they have been fulfilled" (p. 47).
And then in another talk, CJ Woodworth talked about the process by which he came up with the (crazy) interpretation of the 1,600 furlongs as the distance it took for the Finished Mystery book to travel from Scranton to Brooklyn by way of the Lackawanna Railroad and the Hoboken ferry:
"Before the Seventh Volume of Scripture Studies was published, I had heard two explanations of the measurement. One was many times referred to by Brother Russell in his discourse on the 'Battle of Armageddon'. He said in that discourse, you remember, that 'wordly editors have called attention to the fact that the battle line in Europe was approximately 1600 miles long'. It was noticed that the Greek word here rendered 'furlongs' refers to a Greek unit of measure. And so these ditors have suggested that perhaps these 1600 units of measurement represent 1600 miles of the great battle front in Europe and Asia. That was the view I had accepted tentatively as being the correct explanation because Brother Russell had referred to it. He did not indorse it! but he merely said, 'Wordly editors have referred to this.' After working upon the manuscript of this book, a very intelligent brother who had made a careful study of the book for many years, suggested that this was 1600 minutes of longitude between the East and West within which limits the great conflict is raging.
"Subsequently after the book was published there came a number of suggestions from brothers and sisters who would have been glad to find a better explanation than we offered. One was that if 1600 furlongs were thrown into a square — 40 furlongs each way — we might see that it referred to the harvest.... I gave a good deal of attention to all the suggestions, as I was bound to do, and as you would wish me, or anybody, to do who is trying to deal with the Lord's Word, because we all want the Truth, if we make a mistake in anything we want to find where it is and rectify it, if we have not made any mistakes then we want to know that. So the object of this address is try to show, if I can, from the Scriptures that there haven't been any mistakes made in the treatment of this matter in the Seventh Volume: That it could not possibly refer to anything else, but a book. ... You see, dear friends, that throughout these chapters it has been discussing books — the harvest literature. What would be the most reasonable thing to find after noting that all the rest of the chapters were talking about books? I think you would say with me that the most reasonable thing to anticipate would be that it refers to a book.
'And another angel came out of heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.' Who is that 'other angel'? I know of one who has great power on the other side of the vail. That is Brother Russell! "Blessed is that servant whom you find so doing. Verily I saw he will make him ruler over all the truth.' I don't find any place where the Lord limited that to Brother Russell's period on this side the vail; and we note that it says in this very same chapter that rest in their labors, but their works follow after them. Brother Russell has more power there than he had on this side. What do you think about that? 'And another angel came out of the temple; he had a sharp sickle; and another came out of the altar, which had power over fire.' Who is this angel? This angel is mentioned four times in the Book of Revelation. It is mentioned in the seventh chapter (3rd to 5th verses); and there it seems to me very clearly refers to the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. You have the explanation in the seventh volume. The angel had power over the fire and gathered these coals of fire and scatterd them through the earth literally.... The statement is that the 'angel thrust in his sickle and gathered the vine of the earth. It into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress EVEN UNTO THE HORSE BRIDLES, BY THE SPACE OF A THOUSAND and SIX HUNDRED FURLONGS.'
"That means the book was prepared outside of headquarters — in Scranton, at a certain distance from Bethel, and the Lord had his own reasons to thus have it prepared outside of Bethel. And Babylon began to fall. You know what happened on the 16th of March! If you don't I do! (Laughter.) I believe the book has accomplished God's purposel and if it has then surely we are glad. This brings us down to the last clause: And it says: 'At a distance 1600 furlings.' It is '1200 furlongs' in the Sinaitic Manuscript. You know what the seventh volume has to say about that. Perhaps you would like to know how that came to be there. In the first place it was because I could not think of anything else. Had I been able to think of another explanation I would have put it there. And I did not think of that one directly. I was specially interested in the explanation that Brother Russell referred to. But I did not know how to identify it with the great European war, for I noticed the European battle line was 2100 miles long instead of 1600. That was my first disappointment. Then when I found out the measurement had shrunken to 1200 I could not see how any one could conscientiously stretch it. The truth friends are pretty sharp you know! One hundred forty-seven miles was the distance from the city. What city? It could hardly mean Babylon, because that is down through the middle of Europe. That don't mean Rome. I could not think of anything that was 147 miles away from Rome. This is what went through my mind: The word city means Ecclesiastical Government. I thought of Bethel. Here is the Lord's Truth Movement. I wondered if that could be the city. I went out through New England in a tour — having a map in mind — I thought that would be somewhere around Hartford. Then I came down to the coast and figured that could fall a little bit short of Baltimore and Lancaster. I could not try going down that way. I started north; and then west. I could not see how Albany would come in, in that it was about 150 miles away from the city. Then I came to Scranton. But this was a weak thought. I thought that to be absurd for I knew the time table did not indicate this distance. I was about to lay the matter aside, and go to the Lord. I did not know what to do. But I happened to think about the great cut off by the Lackawanna R. R. where they run right through the mountains; and there you go along about twelve to fifteen miles on the most wonderful road bed in the woods. Sometimes you find yourself as high as twenty-four feet in the air; down below you see the farms, etc. I called up the railroad office to find out about the distance. They said it was 111 miles. I then made a mental deduction. I wrote down here to someone you know very well (a good faithful brother, who is an old farmer and accustomed to passing upon land) and requesting him to carefully measure the distance between Bethel and Hoboken. I measured it twice and the measurements were put in the original manuscript exactly as given. It came out with one-tenth of a mile. A few days later, I told Brother Fisher. He was surprised. On the first of April Brother Fisher moved, and in the stress of moving forgot about the distance matter and thought nothing but tracking down carpets, etc. He moved a number of blocks further away from the railway station. I went down and asked him, 'Why did you move?' He said, 'Because I found rents were cheaper.' I asked him, 'Do you think that was the reason you moved? You are getting four blocks farther away from the Lackawanna. There is one-fourth of the book that is yet to be written and that makes the difference of one-tenth of a mile.' Thus it came out according to God's Word.
"The Lord put that in the book" (pp. 52-55).