It was not unusual for Christians throughout the centuries to obsess over the viral idea of a return of Jesus.
The original Apostles did so until their death.
"Soon" is more comforting, is it not? ("Come quickly, Lord Jesus")
Consider this chain:
1.Expectations about a Messiah in Judaism preoccupied every generation as is witnessed in the number of False ones that came and went.
2."Are you the one?" seems to be a common question asked of prominent or charismatic Jewish preachers.
3.The Death of Jesus must have set a great many Messianic-minded followers spinning! Time to re-think and re-interpret!
4.Apostles seem to have concluded a return (second Advent or coming) was surely necessary to fulfill expectations.
5.A Second Coming is only meaningful to a believer if it INCLUDES himself and this necessitates each and every believer being compelled to consider HIS own time and place to be THE ONE!
7. A morbid obsessing over "When?" never ceased from the time of Jesus' death until present time with the emphasis on "Proof" being the fertile human imagination to link some current development with the generic "signs" given in Scripture.
8.The only thing novel about William Miller was the success of his "proof" in convincing contemporaries of his Date!
9.Human nature is such that being proved dead wrong is a bitter pill to swallow! Only an intellectually honest person can do it. William Miller publicly apologized for being in error. Privately he continued to expect Christ's return any day.
10. Russell lived in a day and time in which speculations became "scientific" in the form of charts, schemes and correspondences. His family fortune was devoted to the cause. In the course of time, he became the leader of a particular variety of such schemes: Dispensation Charting and Pyramidology.
11.Russell was wrong again and again and changed his "science" accordingly to the point he was fudging, dodging and outright lying (to himself and others).
12. An intellectually dishonest man cannot accuse others of a fault he himself has chosen to embrace. Hence, warmly cherishing the work and scope of Father Miller's crackpot false reasoning was logical for Pastor Russell.
13.In too many ways, Pastor Russell proved himself a dishonest purveyor of claptrap. Much to his own dishonor and annoyance his religious house of cards constantly collapsed about him. What Russell's life's work consisted of was the ongoing REBUILDING of that house of cards without admitting publicly (or perhaps to himself) that he was dead wrong!
The Bible Student's tired rehash of Adventist drivel had become a pastiche under Russell. The Pastor's sincere writings, preaching and style became the focus of a cult of personaity which continues today.
There can be little doubt the LEFT BEHIND series and the Hal Lindsey end-times books before that are a continuation of something that has never ended since the Messianic watchfulness in Judaism.
Same old same old.
The Watchtower Society, in effect, is a but a link in a long chain of obsessed and driven crackpots who cannot admit when they are dead wrong!