Vanderhoven7 who is the "Brandon Harper" you referred to who?
Vanderhoven7 I notice your post (quoting from Brandon Harper??) referred to predictions by the WTS from its very beginning. I also notice from a different post of yours that you read James Penton's books. In M. James Pento's book called Apocalypse Delayed: The History of Jehovah's Witnesses (First Edition) on page 19 in chapter one he said that Russell believed in the dates and the predictions pertaining to them and that John Nelson Barbour had taught him those. Penton also says that Russell at times was impressed by rationalistic ideas of a religious nature.and I strongly believe that Penton is correct about these matters. This and other things in Penton's book convince me that Russell was not evil, despite the numerous accusations made by some people of Russell.
[Furthermore, Raymond Franz in his Crisis of Conscience book (Fourth Edition) says he believes the governing body members he knew believed in much of what they taught. He also says he believes that they did what they did (including sometimes being controlling and at times lying) because they all really believed that the Watch Tower is God's organization and that it thus needs to be protected.On page 384 Raymond says the following. 'As stated in this book, it is the concept that controls the men, the concept that the Watch Tower organization was divinely chosen by Christ Jesus and constitutes God's "channel of communication" for all his servants on earth, and that their functioning as a governing body is a divine arrangement.' By these things I don't mean that the Watch Tower and the governing body do no evil, but that the governing body and the directors of the Watch Tower (including Rutherford) up through at least the year 2000 were sincere about most of what they taught, including in regards to dates and predictions.]
Note that page 19 says the following. "Russell, who had formerly rejected Adventist chronology and date-setting, as had George Storrs after 1844, now paid Barbour's expenses to come to Philadelphia to meet him and show 'fully and Scripturally, if he could, that the prophecies indicated 1874 as the date at which the Lord's presence and the "harvest" began.' As the young merchant, then only twenty-four, stated later: 'He came, and the evidence satisfied me.' Once again Russell was impressed by rationalistic ideas.
Page 19 of Penton's book then says that Russell "gave Barbour money to prepare a book representing their beliefs respecting the end of the age" and that the book spelling out the time features was the Three Worlds and the Harvest of This World. Penton further says that though the book bore both Barbour's name and Russell's name "it was composed entirely by Barbour."
Page 22 of Penton's book says that "Barbour was greatly impressed by his own system" contained in the Three Worlds book, and then Penton quotes Barbour for documentation. Page 22 also says "Even George Storrs, a man long hostile to such eschatological date-setting, regarded Barbour's chronology as 'the best I have ever seen.' ...Anyone living in late-nineteenth-century America and impressed by so-called mathematical 'proofs' might have regarded Three Worlds as an important prophetic study if he had the tenacity to read it. Referring to Barbour's system, as taken over by Russell virtually without change, Timothy White comments: 'Russell's chronological patterns, prophecies and parallels are enough to stagger the imagination. The dates 1799, 1874, and 1914 each are the result of several entirely independent methods of calculation. The whole system becomes very harmonious and balanced.' 42
Three Worlds is therefore a very important work. In fact, it contains within it most of the ideas that Russell and those in association with him were to promulgate during the next nearly forty years."
In my recent study of WTS literature, including literature of Russell, I can now see how Russell could truly strongly believe that the dates he promoted (dates he learned from Barbour, but sometimes with some minor changes) really were (in his mind) God's dates and not man's dates. Even variations of some of the terminology of Rutherford's and Russell's writings (and in writings by later authors of WTS literature) conveying the idea of "proof positive", "certain", "conclusive", "beyond doubt" are found in Barbour's book. For examples, consider some of the following statements from Barbour's book.
"Here is positive proof that this kingdom of God is not set up, nor given to Christ, until the end of this world, when He comes in the clouds of heaven."
"That Christ and his saints are eventually to reign on the earth, is placed beyond all doubt by comparing Rev. 20:4, and Rev. 5:10, "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. " And this reigning is positively affirmed to be after the resurrection; and in Dan. 7:13, 14, as if to make it doubly sure, it is shown that the dominion over the nations is not given to Christ until he comes in the clouds of heaven, which we know is at his second advent."
"The Christian church have been right in believing in the eventual conversion of the world, no doctrine of the Bible is so clear and unmistakable; but they have failed to distinguish between the work of the gospel of the kingdom, and the kingdom itself; the one being a preparatory step to the other."
"There is much positive Scripture, to be adduced, to prove that there is to be probation in the millennial age, or world to come, for all who have not been brought to the knowledge of the truth in this world, and committed the unpardonable sin."
'The seventy years captivity ended in the first year of Cyrus, which was B.C. 536. They therefore commenced seventy years before, or B.C. 606. Hence, it was in B.C. 606, that God's kingdom ended, the diadem was removed, and all the earth given up to the Gentiles. 2520 years from B.C. 606, will end in A.D. 1914, or forty years from 1874; and this forty years upon which we have now entered is to be such "a time of trouble as never was since there was a nation." '
"Many arguments are given in this book proving that we are now in the time of harvest; hence, that Christ has come the second time and that he was due, in the autumn of 1874, his appearing in the clouds being yet future. From the seventh month in 1844 to the seventh month in 1874, was thirty years. The first movement brought to view in this parable, and which was to end in disappointment and the tarrying of the bridegroom, ended in 1844. And all the evidences proving that Christ was due in 1874, also prove that this night of tarrying was one of just thirty years. Hence, if this parable is to be accurately applied in every detail, as Christ himself has taught us to apply parables, the midnight cry ("And at midnight there was a cry made"), should have occurred fifteen years after the 1844 disappointment, or in the middle of this night of thirty years. Now, whether it was accidental, or so overruled, this present movement, based on these arguments proving that he was due in 1874, began just at that point of time; that is, fifteen years after 1844. Hence, we have to believe the midnight cry has been given, and that the parable is now nearly complete."
'The seven prophetic times of the Gentiles, or 25-20 [sic] years, is a long period, and without doubt began where God's kingdom, in the line of David, ended, at the beginning of the seventy years captivity, or B.C. 606. And as from where the harvest of the Jewish age began, to A.D. 70, was forty years so this 2520 years, or the "times of the Gentiles," reach from B.C. 606 to A.D. 1914, or forty years beyond 1874. And the time of trouble, conquest of the nations, and events connected with the day of wrath, have only ample time, during the balance of this forty years, for their fulfillment.'