Terry : Much of what you stated is true, some of it is false, or misleading.
Pastor Charles Taze Russell used very specific language in his writings about the destination and arrival time for Armageddon and the 1,000 year reign's beginning.
Russell earlier adopted Barbour's view that Armageddon had begun in 1874, and that it would be end in 1914. In 1904, ten years before 1914, Russell, having had further study on the prophecies of the Bible presented to him, rejected his earlier view and saw that the ending of the Gentile Times would see the beginning, not the end, of the "time of trouble," as he had thought before.
Russell never believed the JW-type of Armageddon at all.
Russell was indeed clear that the 1,000 years began in 1874.
Terry: "God's dates--not ours!" the passengers were assured in no uncertain terms.
What Russell actually stated: "They are, we believe, God's dates, not ours." -- The Watch Tower, July 15, 1894, page 226.
He was stating this as HIS belief. He was not stating that all the Bible Students had to so believe (many of them did not agree with Russell.) I also believe that these dates are "God's dates."
Russell expressed in the same short article: "But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble. We see no reason for changing from our opinion expressed in the View presented in the WATCH TOWER of Jan. 15, '92." It seems that some of the Bible Students were suggesting at that time that the time of trouble would not be until after 1914. Russell at that time felt that they were wrong, but in 1904 -- ten years before 1914, after further study, he actually adopted the view that 1914 was to see the beginning, not the end, of the time of trouble.
Terry: Jesus had already arrived in 1874 and was now ready to slay his enemies and reward his followers with Paradise!
This seems to be retroactively attributing the teachings of Rutherford to Russell. While Russell believed that many deaths would result from the time of trouble (Armageddon), overall, he viewed the time of trouble as a chastising of the nations, in which Jesus would be preparing "his enemies" to be blessed by the seed of Abraham; Russell certainly did not believe that Armageddon was eternally destroy the enemies of Jesus, nor that Jesus' followers' would be rewarded with an earthly Paradise in 1914.
Terry: But, the bus broke down in WWI and repairs began along with new assurances given.
1914 changed from the End to the Beginning of the End. REPAIR ACCOMPLISHED!
This statement is misleading. Russell presented his conclusions in 1904 -- ten years before 1914 -- that the time of trouble was to begin, not end in 1914. As to the "beginning of the end", Russell stated in 1915:
The great war now raging in Europe seems to be the beginning of the end of Gentile Times. Instead of feeling ashamed or discouraged, we feel the reverse. -- Watch Tower, November 1, 1915, page 328.
To Russell, however, "the beginning of the end of Gentile Times" was exactly what he had been expecting in 1914. He was NOT stating something new or different, as though he needed to "repair" a former view.
This is only time I have found that Russell used the expression "the beginning of the end" as related to 1914. In a more broader sense, I could say that some things he stated could be interpreted to mean that the "beginning of the end" began when Jesus came at his first appearing; in another sense I could say that some the things he stated could be interpreted to mean that the "beginning of the end" began in 1799. It depends on the relationship of what is being spoken of. As related to "the beginning of the end of the Gentile Times," however, this was a view that he had held to since about 1876, although in 1904, he did change his view concerning the "time of trouble" as related to the end of the Gentile Times.
CTR's Expectations Concerning 1914