Watchtowers use of qualifying words

by donny 14 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • donny

    Bestsy said :welcome back terry - there are precious few with your talent for original thought and creative writing.....

    I concur wholeheartedly. Terry makes some of the best posts on this site. Please don't become a stranger anytime soon.

    Donny (apparently)

  • moshe

    Thanks Terry- I agree that the JW's are very dishonest and I have talked to many of them making their rounds. They have all learned how to remap their past memories to conform to present day teachings and history. They are adamant that child molestation victims were always told to go to the police (a recent development), they never taught the end was coming in 1975 (they forgot how everyone clapped when the PO announced his 16 yr old son quit HS and was now a regular pioneer-it was 1973). They forgot that organ transplants were taught to be cannibalism until 1980, they don't remember that today's 10,000+ memorial partakers is almost 30% more partakers than 30 years ago. They fail to see that a F&DS member is like a UFO- every JW has heard of them, but nobody has ever seen a real one. (caution: qualifer words used) The anointed are apparently not the F&DS, as described by the WT publications, because the GB does not talk to them about spiritual matters and they evidently have no input or power over the words printed in the WT magazine, which logically makes them unable to follow Jesus' command, to "feed his sheep".

  • AudeSapere

    OMG!! It would seem that Terry is BACK!!

    Great to see you~!!


  • donny

    Shouldn't the Society chnage the name of its flagship publication to

    The Watchtower

    Apparently Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom

  • reslight2

    Quote from Terry:

    Where Russell made his worst error was in his certainty. He foolishly (because he was naive and honest) made his theories TESTABLE as to falsifiability. In other words, he set himself up to prove whether or not he was a crackpot and a fool!

    Armageddon was advertised as, "not the beginning of the end, but, the end itself." 1914 was selected based on various ideas already worked out by other sincere crackpots.

    The main thing that Russell was expecting for 1914 was the ending of the Gentile Times and the beginning of the "time of trouble." It is this aspect of his expectations that I will focus on in this post. Russell did not believe in "Armageddon" as the JWs think of "Armageddon," but he viewed Armageddon as a period of time, a time period that, in his later years, he did not set any limit to.

    Russell's later words concerning 1914:


    We now expect that the anarchistic culmination of the great time of trouble which will precede the Millennial blessings will be after October, 1914 A.D. -- Universal Anarchy: Just Before or After October, 1914 A.D.? ZWT, July 1, 1904, page 197, Reprints 3389

    The time of trouble did begin in 1914 with outbreak of World War I, has been with us to this day.


    Our Lord’s presence, as shown in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., dates from October, 1874, where the forty years’ harvest began, of which he is the great Chief Reaper.... So then, dear friends, it is evident that the coming of universal anarchy after the “harvest,” after October 1914 A.D., has nothing whatever to do with either the presence of the Reaper or the setting up of his Kingdom.... Just another word on this subject. We find that some have concluded that because anarchy destroyed the Jewish nation in the one year following their “harvest,” therefore we should expect that the one year, from October 1914 to October 1915, following the Gospel age “harvest,” would measure the period of universal anarchy coming. We cannot agree to this conclusion, because the type or parallel goes no further than the end of the forty years’ “harvest” in both cases–October 69, where the year A.D. 70 began, and October 1914, where the year 1915 A.D. will begin (Jewish reckoning). The anarchy period lies entirely outside of any dates or reckonings furnished us. It may be one year or more. -- “Fear Not, O Zion”, ZWT, August 1, 1904, Beginning on page 229, Reprints 3405

    Here Russell states that he does not know how long the time of trouble will last after 1914, as the ending of the time of trouble is outside of any dates that can be found through the Bible. However, the general consensus amongst Bible Students at that time was that it was to last for one year -- and would be over by about October of 1915, although several other dates began to be circulating amongst the Bible Students about that time.


    The nation of Israel is much increased today, the estimate at the present time being between ten and twelve millions. Their joy is not yet accomplished because this great deliverance here mentioned has not yet been accomplished. It is to be accomplished in the day of trouble, shortly after October, 1914, we believe. -- “Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:1-7 : ZWT, December 1, 1904, page 364, Reprints 3468

    Although Russell certainly did not envision that the time of trouble would be more than a hundred years, he did allow that it could be. From God's reckoning, it was indeed shorty after 1914 that the Balfour Declaration allowed Jews to return to their homeland; it was still shortly after 1914 that the nation of Israel was reborn; and it is still shortly after 1914 yet.


    This fourth feature is expressed in the words, “And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” From other prophetic Scriptures we glean that this great trouble lies 10 years in the future. It will be ushered in at the expiration of what the Scriptures designate the “times of the Gentiles,” October, 1914 A.D. -- “Lessons Drawn From St. Louis Exposition”, October 2, 1904, Pittsburgh Gazette

    Russell again expresses his expectation that the "time of trouble" would being around October, 1914.


    I hasten to assure you that I have never laid claim to infallibility. I do not expect to be infallible until by the Lord’s grace I shall share a part in the First Resurrection; then, that which is perfect having come, that which is in part shall be done away; we shall see as we are seen and know as we are known.... There is no ground for believing that any others than the apostles have been so miraculously holden by the power of God as were those twelve, or that we have any authority in the Word of God for considering the words and writings of others as being above or beyond testing and proving by the Scriptures. This has invariably been our presentation. -- Watch Tower, March 15, 1906, page 90

    Russell had stated many times that his expectations should not be considered as "prophecy." The prophecies he considered to be in the Bible itself; his studies of those prophecies he did not consider to be prophecy, and he often admitted that he could be in error in his studies.


    We have never claimed our calculations to be infallibly correct; we have never claimed that they were knowledge, nor based upon indisputable evidence, facts, knowledge; our claim has always been that they are based on faith. We have set forth the evidences as plainly as possible and stated the conclusions of faith we draw from them, and have invited others to accept as much or as little of them as their hearts and heads could endorse. Many have examined these evidences and have accepted them; others equally bright do not endorse them. -- “Knowledge and Faith Regarding Chronology”, ZWT, October 1907, page 294, Reprints 4067

    Again Russell expresses, as he had many times before, that he did not claim that his calculations were infallible, and that any were free to accept or reject them. Indeed, there were many associated with the Bible Students in his day who questioned the calculations and others who simply did not accept them. The same is true amongst the Bible Students to this day.

    During 1915, according to the Bible, we expect that anarchy will gain the upper hand of control throughout Christendom, overthrowing present institutions, civil and religious, financial and social, and in a general way plunging the poor world into the most awful trouble it has ever experienced–a trouble so dark, so terrible, that in referring to it the Master said, “Except those days be shortened there would no flesh survive.” ... We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises, the Scriptural basis for which is already in the hands of our readers in the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES. We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them. -- “Views from the Watch Tower”, January 1, 1908, page 3, Reprints 4109

    At this time, the general consenus of many Bible Students, based on Edgar's parallels, was that the "anarchy" period would be in of days or weeks ending in October of 1915. I should note that the "time of trouble" and the "anarchy" were not viewed as exactly the same thing. The "anarchy" was viewed as toward the end of the "time of trouble." Many Bible Students in 1907 were expecting the "time of trouble" to be over around October of 1915. "Armageddon" was viewed to be phases over a time period; the present-day view of Armageddon as eternally destroying millions, perhaps billions, of men, women and children, did not exist in the days of Russell. The time period that many were assigning to the "time of trouble" in 1907 was from October of 1914 to October of 1915, based on Edgar's parallels. Remember that Russell stated earlier, however, that this parallel was outside of what can actually be determined from the Bible. However, Russell had expressed that he did not see how the time of trouble could last for more than one year, as he expected things to happen much more rapidly than the reality turned out to be. Thus, he was expecting also that the arnarchy period would begin sometime in 1915.


    To our understanding the collapse of the nations will be through a fierce strife, “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation,” in which “there shall be no peace to him that goeth out, nor to him that cometh in,” because God will set every man’s hand against his neighbor. Our belief is that the warfare between capital and labor, emperors and peoples, will be short, sharp, decisive, and bring untold calamity upon all concerned. If people could only discern it, they would avoid it, but their eyes are holden; they see not, neither do they understand. -- “Times of the Gentiles”, The National Labor Tribune, July 11, 1909

    Again, Russell, in context speaking of 1914, relates his expectations concerning the "time of trouble" to begin in 1914. He was expecting the time of trouble, including the anarchy, to be over by the end of 1915. I believe he was correct in his expectations that the "time of trouble" was to begin in 1914, but it is evident that he was wrong about how low the time of trouble was to last, although part of his "expectations" did allow that it could last for more than one year. It is in this statement also that Russell mentions "warfare" in connection with that time of trouble.


    If October, 1915, came, or October, 1920, came, and no great time of trouble, and no change of all the Church came, it would not overthrow my faith in the divine plan of the ages for a moment. God is selecting a Church as the Seed of Abraham, and that Church as the Seed of Abraham is predestinated to do the work of blessing all the families of the earth; whether 1915 is the exact time for that to begin, or the trouble that will introduce that time of blessing, is another matter. I believe October, 1914, is the time when we may expect that great time of trouble, because it seems to our judgment, as far as we can understand the Scriptures, that is the time when the Gentile period of lease, or tenure, will expire, and when, therefore, we may expect that the time of trouble shall be ushered in; and that time of trouble we understand is the one the Scriptures tell about–a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, a time of trouble which shall overwhelm all sorts of government, and every institution of the present time; and a time of trouble which thus will make ready and prepare mankind for the glorious reign of Christ and his Church, for the blessing and uplifting of all the families of the earth. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Question 555:4

    Russell again expresses his expectation of the the "lease" of Gentile rulership would end in 1914. He mentions 1915, the date the Edgars set forth by parallel as indicating the beginning of the blessings; he also mentions 1920, another date that was circulating amongst the Bible Students as a possible date for the end of the time of the trouble and the beginning of the blessings. Russell emphasizes 1914 as the beginning of the time of trouble, however, as he states, if his expectations were not realized, it would not overthrow his faith in the divine plan.


    Nineteen hundred and fourteen is the time when the “Gentile Times” will end. What does that mean? I do not know, but I think it is when God lets go in a general sense of the word, and permits things to take their course; and we can readily suppose, as the Apostle says, that the course of nature would be set on fire, because of strife. In the world of mankind, I shall expect a time of great trouble, which the Bible marks out as having its beginning about October, 1914, but I think, dear friends, that it is more important, instead of telling of the time of trouble, to tell about the good things. The poor people who get into the time of trouble will have all they want of it then. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Question 76:1

    Here Russell agains expresses his expectation that the "time of trouble" was to "begin" in 1914.


    But let us suppose, for instance, that October, 1914, should pass and that no serious fall of Gentile power would occur. What would this prove or disprove? It would not disprove any feature of the Divine Plan of the Ages. The ransom-price finished at Calvary would still stand the guarantee of the ultimate fulfillment of the great Divine Program for human restitution. The “high calling” of the Church to suffer with the Redeemer and to be glorified with him as his members or as his Bride would still be the same. There would still be the two salvations–the one on the spirit plane to which we are called now; the other to the human plane under the terms of the New Covenant during Messiah’s blessed reign. It would still be true that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. It would still be true that it is for the called to be faithful, in order to be chosen–to make their calling and their election sure. The only thing effected by the chronology would be the time for the accomplishment of these glorious hopes for the Church and for the world. -- “The New Year’s Outlook.” The Watch Tower, January 1, 1911, page 5, Reprints page 4736


    Our readers know that for some years we have been expecting this Age to close with an awful time of trouble, and we expect it to break out with suddenness and force not long after October, 1914, which, so far as we can understand the Scriptures, is the date at which the Times of the Gentiles –the lease of earth’s dominions to the Gentiles–will expire; the time, therefore, when Messiah’s Kingdom will be due to begin its exercise of power, which the Scriptures declare will dash the nations in pieces as a potter’s vessel. -- “Loosing the Four Winds of Heaven”, May 15, 1911, page 146, Reprints 4822

    Again, Russell expressed his expectation of the time of trouble related to 1914. The exercise of power of the Kingdom at that date, he expected to not bring sudden peace, but rather trouble.


    We are expecting in October, 1914, that a great change will be due. Now, how quickly will it come? Whether on the stroke of the clock or not we do not know. We believe that it will land upon humanity by that time. Perhaps some of it will come before that, but we believe it will be stayed off until that time. Now, dear friends, what if it does not? We are just as well off as the rest. That is what the Bible states. If it does not state that to you, we have no quarrel. And if it does not come we will not try to bring it about. But, on the contrary, we will try to practice peace and holiness withal. We are children of peace and peacemakers, not strife breeders. But we believe the Bible teaches October, 1914, as the time. If that is incorrect for a year, or five, or one hundred years, no matter, it is coming some time, whether we have it right or not. -- 1912 Convention Sermons Report

    Here Russell again expresses the possibility that he could be wrong about the about the time, and that this age could go on for many years after 1914; he expressed here up a hundred years, but I don't think he meant this as a limit, simply that if the change to world peace did not come right away after 1914 (as he was expecting near the end of 1915), that it would come sometime.


    We pointed out that the evidences seem more and more to corroborate our expectations. At the same time we suggested that should our expectations for October, 1914, not be realized – for years thereafter – this delay would not invalidate God’s Great Plan nor our faith therein. Our consecration vow calls for faithfulness, “even unto death” – whenever death may come.

    Russell here again expresses the possibility that his expectations may not be realized for 1914, and if so, this still does not change, or give reason to not have faith in, God's Plan. Again, he sets no time limit for the realization for those expectations, but he speaks "years" after 1914.


    The Scriptures do not say that the trouble will come in an hour, or in one day, or in one year. The intimation is that the catastrophe coming upon our civilization will be a very sudden one. ( Revelation 18:8 , 10 , 17 , 21 ; I Thessalonians 5:3 .) But it will be very sudden if it comes within twelve months. The Flood required many days to come, and many days to assuage.... So when October, 1914, comes or October, 1915, or some other date (the Lord knoweth) and the Gentile Times terminate, it does not follow that there will be an outburst that will revolutionize the world, all in a day. But we believe that it will do so not very long thereafter. -- “Resume of the Ending of the Times of the Gentiles”, ZWT, page 307, R5328.


    We should expect that by the end of 1914 the lease of power, this great lease that God gave to the Gentiles, the times of the Gentiles, would expire. And what would this mean? Why, you have lived in a house, and perhaps your lease has expired, and with the expiration of the lease the landlord sends you a notice to quit and get out. So I presume that the Gentiles will be served with a notice to quit. And just what that will mean to the Gentiles I am not wise enough to know. And if you do not quit and give possession of the house according to your lease, if you do not do so peaceably and quietly, in all probability the officer would come ’round and put you out on to the street. And so I am not expecting that the Gentiles know anything about this notice to quit, and they are not thinking of quitting at all. King Edward has no thought of saying, “Here, Lord, here is my crown, take it, please, and begin your reign.” And the czar of Russia, his cousin, has no thought of doing that, and the other great kings of the world know nothing about the Messiah and His Kingdom. They do not realize the facts in the case. We are not blaming them at all, but we see that they are not prepared to quit. But we believe they are going to have a notice to quit, and they are quite unprepared for it. What do you think it will mean? Why, I think it will be about time. Well, how will it be done? Now, that takes more wisdom than I have. Well, you might say, it would necessarily mean, of course, that God would use some good people to put them out. Oh, not necessarily, my dear brother. Not necessarily. The officer who comes to put you out of the house might not be a good man at all. He might be a very rough and tumble sort of fellow that would come to set your stuff out. And so God sometimes uses the wrath of man, and the wrath of the devil, to praise Him, and He may use some other power. For aught I know, He may use anarchy to put these kingdoms out. It is not for me to say. I do not know. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Question 79:1

    Here Russell describes by way of illustration how the Gentile Kingdom will probably respond the end of their lease. Again, he states that that he does not know how the kingdoms will be "put out."


    Suppose that the Gentile Times should end in October, 1914, what would be the logical thing to expect? Well, I am not sure what to expect. {Page Q89} We could not be sure, we would not know, whether it would take the Lord fifteen minutes or fifteen days or fifteen years to put out the kingdoms of this world.... did not consecrate until the end of the Gentile Times, nor dlid we consecrate until the end of 1914 not until the end of 1915, but we consecrated, if we consecrated properly, until death. -- What Pastor Russell Said, Question 79:1

    Russell again shows that he could not be sure how long the time of trouble will last. In this statement, he says it could be fifteen minutes, fifteen days, or fifteen years; not that he was setting any date for the end of the time of trouble -- he was simply giving emphasis to what he did not know by way of illustrative variables.

    Quote from Terry:

    1914 came and World War One broke out.

    This was viewed as PROOF certain. wasn't.

    It was DISPROOF certain......unless.......unless......unless......

    1914 came and World War One broke out, giving evidence that the time of trouble had begun with warfare amongst the nations. The beginning phase of the gathering of the nations to the symbolic Armageddon (Mount of Meggido -- mount of assembled troops) had begun. Russell realized that, although at first he was still expecting the matter to be culminated within about year. A mountain general signifies a "kingdom" in the Bible. In this case, I believe the "kingdom" signifies the kingdom of Satan.

    Quote from Terry:

    Yes, unless Russell backtracked and started removing the falsifiable statements from his previous statements. He did. He began shifting emphasis. He couched previous sentences in changed language.

    At this point, Russell proved himself dishonest. It turned him from a naive believer into a fraud. No doubt about it.

    Russell did make a few changes in the Scripture Studies in 1915, if this is what is referring to. The changes made simply reflected the obvious, and the changes were made public in the pages of the Watch Tower. There was no attempt to cover up the earlier statements, there was no attempt to cover up the changes, and there was no attempt to make it appear that the changes were statements made before 1914. There was nothing dishonest in this. Now, if Russell had quoted the changes made as being something stated before 1914 then he would have been dishonest, but he did not do this.

    Not all was happening as fast as Russell had expected, and yet, if you include his statements that the time of trouble could last for years after 1914 as part of his expectations, then in the variables that Russell gave in his expectations, that expectation proved to be true.

    Quote from Terry:

    He died in 1916 with nothing turning out the way he had predicted.

    Russell died in 1916 with a satisfied belief that his expectation that the time of trouble would begin in 1914 had come true. Other expectations, which he had said long before 1914 were not as clearly stated in the Bible, did not happen, such as the change of the saints to spirit beings, nor had the way yet come for the Jews to return to Israel, which he was expecting to come shortly after 1914. This came shorty after his death. Nor had the expectation of world peace through God's kingdom come about, but, then again, in his expectations, Russell had allowed for that possibility also. His expectation for the end of the harvest in 1914 failed, but this possibility was also allowed for in his expectations. By the way, some Bible Students, long before 1914, believed that the harvest does not end with the beginning of the time of trouble, but with the ending of the time of trouble -- many dates were set forth long before 1914 for the ending of the time of trouble, as I stated, the most prominent being 1915; others I can name offhand were the dates 1918 and 1920, and, if my memory is correct, there was also a date proposed for sometime in the 1930s. Russell at least once suggested the date 1918 as being the possible end of the harvest, and thus end of the time of trouble. None of these dates were proposed as being prophecy, or definite, however, nor was anyone saying that one had to accept any of the dates given. Jesus, however, said that of the day and hour when the present heavens and earth pass away, no man knows, thus I do not believe that any date one might suggest can tell us when the present heavens and earth will pass away, for Yahweh has not made that date known by way of his revelation in the Bible; Jesus' statement is that unless the those days will be cut short, lest no flesh be saved. (Matthew 24:22) And Jesus said: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring." (Luke 21:25, KJV) This suggests that the time of trouble will become so intense that unless God steps in to stop that trouble, mankind will fully destroy himself. The prophetic statements of Psalm 107 show that God does step in to deliver mankind out of his distress:

    Psalm 107:25 For he commands, and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up its waves.
    Psalm 107:26 They mount up to the sky; they go down again to the depths. Their soul melts away because of trouble.
    Psalm 107:27 They reel back and forth, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits' end.
    Psalm 107:28 Then they cry to Yahweh in their trouble, He brings them out of their distress.
    Psalm 107:29 He makes the storm a calm, So that its waves are still.
    Psalm 107:30 Then are they glad because it is calm, So he brings them to their desired haven. -- World English version

    Regardless, God will fulfill his prophecies of future events in his own way and in his own time, as Russell once said, whether we understand them correctly or not.

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