Interesting article from Time in 1937.
Religion: Judge Rutherford
Monday, Aug. 01, 1927
"Through the gracious providence of Jehovah," the voice of Judge Joseph Frederick Rutherford, president, the International Bible Students' Association, boomed from Toronto last week to pass out from 53 separate radio broadcasting stations. The "hookup" was the widest in radio history and was the result of a goading which Judge Rutherford several weeks ago drove at President Merlin Hall Aylesworth of National Broadcasting Co.
It was at a hearing of the Federal Radio Commission in Washington. The commission had given the radio wave length of WBBR, Judge Rutherford's station, to WJZ of the National Broadcasting Co., and had refused to allocate any wave length to WBBR. WBBR was considered an unessential station.
That was complot, cried Judge Rutherford. The "regular" churches were seeking to destroy his sect. In 1918 they had him sent to Atlanta Penitentiary for obstructing the War draft. But the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, after he had spent eight months in jail, had ordered him released. The present exclusion from the air was another "frame-up." Mr. Aylesworth was in cahoots with the preachers.
"I dare you to let me speak from your station," Judge Rutherford had shouted at Mr. Aylesworth during the Radio Commission hearing.
"You may speak, sir, for one hour on any day and at any hour you may select," Mr. Aylesworth exclaimed angrily.
"All right. I choose 3 p. m., Sunday, July 24 next." Astute, the Judge chose the hour during which the New York Federation of Churches had been broadcasting the past four years. He would reach the ears of his "enemy" congregations; he would make the "devil's" spear serve as the staff of Jehovah, whose aid-de-camp he pictures himself.
Last week he was in Toronto to lecture to the International Bible Students' Association convention there. Mr. Aylesworth, better than his promise, gave his sharp goader all his radio facilities.
The International Bible Students' Association represents a religious phenomenon now about 50 years old. It began with "Pastor" Charles Taze Russell who organized the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society in Pennsylvania to spread his interpretations of the Old & New Testaments. Moving to Manhattan he incorporated the People's Pulpit Association for the same purpose. Later, in London, the International
Bible Students' Association took form. His followers were called "Russellites." Since his death in 1916, when Joseph Frederick Rutherford took charge, they denominate themselves Bible Students. Their membership they claim is in the millions; they have tens of thousands of local associations, called "ecclesias" and ruled by "elders" and "deacons"; publications are in 37 languages. They have no paid ministers. Workers receive bare expenses. Excess money gathered from believers go to further their spread of "Pastor" Russell's, now Judge Rutherford's, ideas.* Those ideas are that the Bible, the Prophets and Revelations especially, forecast and prefix all earthly doings.
By judicious use of Biblical excerpts Bible Students have "established" that three periods of time, termed "cosmos," have governed human affairs. Cosmos I is assumed to have begun with Adam and ended with the Flood, at 4128 B. C. Its duration was 1,656 years. Cosmos II is assumed to have begun with the Flood and ended with the War, at 1914. Its duration was 6,042 years. Cosmos III is assumed to have begun with the War and to end in 2874. This is the time of "Christ's invisible reign."
The "Kingdom of God" will have filled the whole earth. His 144,000 true members of the true Church of Christ will be sorted out and lifted up "to reign with Christ" for 1,000 years." This selection is supposed to have been going on since 1874. The War was one great proving of the chosen ones. By 1928 will have come, the predictions go, another great cataclysm, a grand bust-up. "Nations will battle; the dead will be dung on the earth."
After 2874 the "Ages to Come" will begin.