Charlie Russell, A Zionist Hero

by fulltimestudent 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • fulltimestudent

    I was rather surprised today as I explored some archaeological news for my Macquarie Asian History FB page, to be suddenly confronted with this heading in the Israeli Haaretz media site.

    Before Herzl, There Was Pastor Russell: A Neglected Chapter of Zionism

    Years before Theodor Herzl proposed creating a Jewish state, Charles Taze Russell was traveling the world holding Jewish Mass Meetings, beginning in 1879, at which he urged Jews to find a national home in Eretz Israel

    ... and this quote from Charlie's Zion's Watchtower (p. 329, 1892:

    "There are now in the world more than ten million Jews, about three-quarters of whom are in Russia, Poland, the Balkan States, and Turkey. If the movement toward Palestine should get the impulse that the Hirsch committee is able to give it, an imaginative person can conceive of the country's doubling or trebling its Jewish population before the close of our century"

    And to find the article adopting Charlie as an early and enthusiastic proponent for a Jewish state.

    You may be able read the article at:

    (There's no paywall, but Haaretz wants you email before letting you read the full story.)

    I knew that Charlie had a greater leaning toward Zionism than the WTS in my time. but to see this fulsome praise was surprising.

  • _Morpheus

    Wait.... you mean to tell me that the man who created a publication called “ZIONS watchtower and herald of christs presence” was zionist?????

    You are obviously delusional. That cannot be true.

  • Finkelstein

    Yup Russell did have interest and support of Zionism, but this was eventually downplayed in JW theological teaching via J Rutherford.

    Rutherford wanted to extend attention and support for the great crowd and his version of who was the anointed ones, self scripted and delusional as it was.

  • sparky1

    For the sake of historical accuracy, J.F. Rutherford was also a Zionist until he turned his attention to the promulgation of the idea of an earthly 'Great Multitude'. He was the author of the publication COMFORT FOR THE JEWS written in 1925 and expanded on Russell's Zionist theology.

  • OrphanCrow

    I think that the change from a dual covenat theology to a replacement theology was one of the most significant doctrinal flip flops in the WT/org history.

    By the time that 1933 rolled around, Rutherford's new and improved religion had changed from one of support for the Jews to one that required the Jews to convert to Joe's brand of religion.

    Lots changed after the year that Rutherford published "Comfort for the Jews" but it didn't change fast enough for Rutherford to convince the ruler in Germany of that fact. The German WT had a deep schism in it - many Bible Students had left the WTS after Rutherford's fight with Conrad Binkele in 1925 and they still followed Russell's dual covenant doctrine and supported Zionism. The JW/ Bible Students were a fractured group, especially in Germany at the time that Hitler took power.

    But back to Russell et al...a photo of Russell and cronies in Jerusalem in 1914. Waiting for the rapture, apparently...

  • OrphanCrow

    "Jewish Hopes" by CT Russell

    Booklet published by the International Bible Students (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) in 1910 containing an epitome of the teaching of Charles Taze Russell on the restoration of Israel (Zionism). Russell was first president of the Watch Tower Society, now known as Jehovah's Witnesses. The booklet also contains the text of Russell's famous 1910 Hippodrome speech on Jewish Hopes.

  • reslight2

    Russell never spoke of himself as a Zionist; that term originally only applied to Jews who promoted the return of the Jews to Israel. He was certainly in support of the Zionists.

    The non-authoritarian, non-sectarian, Watch Tower Society of Russell's day however, virtually ceased to exist shortly after Russell died. Rutherford deceitfully had new by-laws passed and very cleverly created an atmosphere of "authority" by which he eventually promoted his "Jehovah's visible organization" dogma. By 1928, the vast majority of the Bible Students around the world had rejected this dogma.

    In Germany, the Bible Students were not clearly delineated. As far as Hitler's regime was concerned, there was no distinction between "Bible Students" as to who was still promoting Israel's restoration from those who did not. It was not until after the war was over that a clear distinction became possible. Many of the number the WTS claims as being "Jehovah's Witnesses" who suffered during World War II were not actually "Jehovahs Witnesses," but were Bible Students who believed in the "ransom for all," that is, that Adam and all of descendants will eventually be blessed due to Christ's sacrifice, including all Jews as well all Germans. Rutherford had begun to deny the basis of the ransom for all as early as about 1923; he publicly denied the basis of the ransom for all in the 1930s, and the JW leadership has continued to do the same until this day.

  • OrphanCrow

    This is from the March 31, 1920 Golden Age magazine:

  • OrphanCrow
    sparky: For the sake of historical accuracy, J.F. Rutherford was also a Zionist until he turned his attention to the promulgation of the idea of an earthly 'Great Multitude'. He was the author of the publication COMFORT FOR THE JEWS written in 1925 and expanded on Russell's Zionist theology.

    No, Rutherford did not "expand" on Russell's dual covenant doctrine in Comfort for the Jews.

    Rutherford came out in direct opposition to Russell's belief that the Jews had a separate and distinct covenant with God. In that book, published in 1925, Rutherford claimed that the "comfort" being offered the Jews was the message that they could come under the covenant that god offered to the followers of Christ (aka Joe's witnesses) and the Jews who accepted the Messiah.

    This teaching of Rutherford's was what led to deep schisms in the Bible Student movement and subsequently saw the Rutherford faction (who controlled the WTS' printing presses and holdings) come to be known as "Jehovah's witnesses" in 1931. Replacement theology. Laid out in Rutherford's 1925 book Comfort for the Jews.

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