1879-1916 WT Tidbits--Then and Now

by blondie 30 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • jgnat

    An interesting link on Russell.


    Would it be fair to characterize him as an early maverick who let success go to his head?

  • simwitness


    I think we are actually in agreement..."every" book claims to be the best... Ever read a couple of Bass Fishing magazines or lure catalogs? The problem is that the WTBS holds that Russle was it's founder (albeit modern day), but they don't follow any of his charector and views

    If the Watchtower today continued to publish Russell writings and reflect hsi character and views, they wouldn't be having all the problems they have today.

    From what I understand of Russell's charector and views, I would have to agree with you.

    However, There is a vast difference between Russells "charector" and some of the teachings he taught as truth. One example would be his teachings on the pyramid (which changed measurements to support new "understandings") and his teachings on what would come to pass in 1914. While you may be able to pass that off on "missed expectations", it was still taught that that was what was to pass.

    Perhaps this statement is true about Russells works as well:

    Many friends of the Bible, instead of regarding it as containing a system of truth, look upon it as a compilation of facts, commandments and promises, that are not susceptible of arrangement.

    The paragraph about the Studies stands... Russell fealt that he was presenting the truth through the "studies in scriptures", and indeed he was, as he understood it. Anyone not studying his works would indeed fall into darkness as far as he was concerned. The WTBS, under Rutherford (and from then on) stopped teaching Russell's views, and fell into that "darkness".

    But what always surprises me in any of these conversations is how followers of "end time" groups (like Russells, WTBS, teh adventists) always seem to ignore Christ's clear instructions at Luke 21:8

    He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them.

    Now, I don't know wether or not Russel ever strictly claimed to be something special, but he certainly claimed that the time was near.

    Again, RR, I want to be sure you understand my meaning:

    Russell taught a good many thing that was indeed "truth" and worthy of consideration even a hundred years later, but he also taught, and did, a number of things that prove he was "just another man".

    Just like thousands of others, from the time of Christ untill now, and for another millinnium to come... until we all begin to realize it is a "system of truth" and not a "a compilation of facts, commandments and promises".

  • gumby


    Like Blondie said, the objective is to educate JW's regarding the roots of the WT, not necessarily to pick on Russell.

    I realise that Steve, .....my points were directed at RR's defense of Russell. I realise some get his history and intent wrong...........but to me.......he has no significance over any other person in his character or thought. Why go to such lenghts to study him, and defend him? He also had some bad traits like everyone else.


  • Waymores Ghost
    Waymores Ghost


    Here's a brief history of the WT. Some here may recognize this as a post from the old H2O board. I can't recall who the the kindly poster was...

    A Short History of the Watchtower


    Jehovah's Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America.That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843. His predictions of the Second Coming or Second Advent captured the imagination of thousands in Baptist and other mainline churches. Perhaps as many as 50,000 followers put their trust in Miller's chronological calculations and prepared to welcome the Lord, while, as the appointed time approached, others watched nervously from a distance. Recalculations moved the promised second advent from March, 1843 to March, 1844, and then to October of that year. Alas, that date too passed uneventfully.

    After the "Disappointment of 1844" Miller's following fell apart, with most of those who had looked to him returning to their respective churches before his death in 1849. But other disappointed followers kept the movement alive, although in fragmented form. Their activities eventually led to the formation of several sects under the broad heading of "Adventism" including the Advent Christian Church, the Life and Advent Union, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and various Second Adventist groups.

    An interesting side-note: The Branch Davidians who died at Waco, Texas, under the leadership of David Koresh also trace their roots to the same Millerite source through a different line of descent. In 1935 the Seventh Day Adventist Church expelled a Bulgarian immigrant named Victor Houteff, who had begun teaching his own views on certain passages of the Revelation or Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible. Houteff set up shop on the property at Waco. After first referring to his tiny new sect as The Shepherd's Rod, Houteff and his people in 1942 incorporated and renamed themselves Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. Houteff died in 1955, and in 1961 his wife Florence officially disbanded the sect, but a few followers under the leadership of west Texas businessman Benjamin Roden took over the real estate. Roden died in 1978, leaving behind his wife Lois and his son George to lead the group. Then, in 1987, David Koresh took over the leadership position, and the tragedy that followed is public knowledge.

    Jehovah's Witnesses, likewise, trace their roots back to the Adventists. But they do not often admit this to outsiders; nor do many Witnesses know the details themselves. JWs are accustomed to defending themselves against the charge that they are a new religious cult. They will often respond that theirs is the most ancient religious group, older than Catholic and Protestant churches. In fact, their book Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose asserts that "Jehovah's witnesses have a history almost 6,000 years long, beginning while the first man, Adam, was still alive," that Adam's son Abel was "the first of an unbroken line of Witnesses," and that "Jesus' disciples were all Jehovah's witnesses [sic] too." (pp. 8-9) An outsider listening to such claims quickly realizes, of course, that the sect has simply appropriated unto itself all the characters named in the Bible as faithful witnesses of God. By such extrapolation the denomination is able to stretch its history back to the beginnings of the human family-at least in the eyes of adherents who are willing to accept such arguments. But outside observers generally dismiss this sort of rhetoric and instead reckon the Witnesses as dating back only to Charles Taze Russell, who was born on February 16, 1852, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Originally raised a Presbyterian, Russell was 16 years old and a member of the Congregational church in the year 1868, when he found himself losing faith. He had begun to doubt not only church creeds and doctrines, but also God and the Bible itself. At this critical juncture a chance encounter restored his faith and placed him under the influence of Second Adventist preacher Jonas Wendell.

    For some years after that Russell continued to study Scripture with and under the influence of various Adventist laymen and clergy, notably Advent Christian Church minister George Stetson and the Bible Examiner's publisher George Storrs. He met locally on a regular basis with a small circle of friends to discuss the Bible, and this informal study group came to regard him as their leader or pastor.

    In January, 1876, when he was 23 years old, Russell received a copy of The Herald of the Morning, an Adventist magazine published by Nelson H. Barbour of Rochester, New York. One of the distinguishing features of Barbour's group at that time was their belief that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, and this concept presented in The Herald captured Russell's attention. It meant that this Adventist splinter group had not remained defeated, as others had, when Christ failed to appear in 1874 as Adventist leaders had predicted; somehow this small group had managed to hold onto the date by affirming that the Lord had indeed returned at the appointed time, only invisibly.

    Was this mere wishful thinking, coupled with a stubborn refusal to admit the error of failed chronological calculations? Perhaps, but Barbour had some arguments to offer in support of his assertions. In particular, he came up with a basis for reinterpreting the Second Coming as an invisible event: In Benjamin Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott translation of the New Testament the word rendered coming in the King James Version at Matthew 24:27, 37, 39 is translated presence instead. This served as the basis for Barbour's group to advocate, in addition to their time calculations, an invisible presence of Christ.

    Although the idea appealed to young Charles Taze Russell, the reading public apparently refused to 'buy' the story of an invisible Second Coming, with the result that N. H. Barbour's publication The Herald of the Morning was failing financially. In the summer of 1876 wealthy Russell paid Barbour's way to Philadelphia and met with him to discuss both beliefs and finances. The upshot was that Russell became the magazine's financial backer and was added to the masthead as an Assistant Editor. He contributed articles for publication as well as monetary gifts, and Russell's small study group similarly became affiliated with Barbour's.

    Russell and Barbour believed and taught that Christ's invisible return in 1874 would be followed soon afterward, in the spring of 1878 to be exact, by the Rapture-the bodily snatching away of believers to heaven. When this expected Rapture failed to occur on time in 1878, The Herald's editor, Mr. Barbour, came up with "new light" on this and other doctrines. Russell, however, rejected some of the new ideas and persuaded other members to oppose them. Finally, Russell quit the staff of the Adventist magazine and started his own. He called it Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence and published its first issue with the date July, 1879. In the beginning it had the same mailing list as The Herald of the Morning and considerable space was devoted to refuting the latter on points of disagreement, Russell having taken with him a copy of that magazine's mailing list when he resigned as assistant editor.

    At this point Charles Russell no longer wanted to consider himself an Adventist, nor a Millerite. But, he continued to view Miller and Barbour as instruments chosen by God to lead His people in the past. The formation of a distinct denomination around Russell was a gradual development. His immediate break was, not with Adventism, but with the person and policies of N. H. Barbour. Nor were barriers immediately erected with respect to Protestantism in general. New readers obtaining subscriptions to Zion's Watch Tower were often church members who saw the magazine as a para-church ministry, not as an anti-church alternative. Russell traveled about speaking from the pulpits of Protestant churches as well as to gatherings of his own followers. In 1879, the year of his marriage to Maria Frances Ackley and also the year he began publishing Zion's Watch Tower, Russell organized some thirty study groups or congregations scattered from Ohio to the New England coast. Each local "class" or ecclesia came to recognize him as "Pastor," although geography and Russell's writing and publishing activities prevented more than an occasional pastoral visit in person.

    Inevitably, Russell's increasingly divergent teachings forced his followers to separate from other church bodies and to create a denomination of their own. Beginning, as he did, in a small branch of Adventism that went to the extreme of setting specific dates for the return of Christ and the Rapture, Russell went farther out on a limb in 1882 by openly rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity. His earlier mentor Nelson H. Barbour was a Trinitarian, as was The Herald of the Morning's other assistant editor John H. Paton who joined Russell in leaving Barbour to start Zion's Watch Tower. The writings of Barbour and Paton that Russell had helped publish or distribute were Trinitarian in their theology. And the Watch Tower itself was at first vague and noncommittal on the subject. It was only after Paton broke with him in 1882, and ceased to be listed on the masthead, that Russell began writing against the doctrine of the Trinity.

    By the time of his death , Charles Taze Russell had traveled more than a million miles and preached more than 30,000 sermons. He had authored works totaling some 50,000 printed pages, and nearly 20,000,000 copies of his books and booklets had been sold. Followers had been taught that Russell himself was the "faithful and wise servant" of Matthew 24:45 and "the Laodicean Messenger," God's seventh and final spokesman to the Christian church. But he lived to see the failure of various dates he had predicted for the Rapture, and finally died on October 31, 1916, more than two years after the world was supposed to have ended, according to his calculations, in early October, 1914..

    His disciples, however, saw the World War then raging as reason to believe "the end" was still imminent. They buried Russell beneath a headstone identifying him as "the Laodicean Messenger," and erected next to his grave a massive stone pyramid emblazoned with the cross and crown symbol he was fond of and the name "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society." (The pyramid still stands off Cemetery Lane in Ross, a northern Pittsburgh suburb, where it reportedly serves as the focal point of an eerie scene each Halloween as modern-day Russellites encircle it, holding hands, in a vigil commemorating the day of his death.)

    According to instructions Russell left behind, his successor to the presidency would share power with an editorial committee and with the Watch Tower corporation's board of directors, whom Russell had appointed "for life." But vice president Joseph Franklin ("Judge") Rutherford soon set about concentrating all organizational authority in his own hands. A skilled lawyer who had served as Russell's chief legal advisor, he combined legal prowess with what opponents undoubtedly saw as a Machiavellian approach to internal corporate politics. Thus he used a loophole in their appointment to unseat the majority of the Watch Tower directors without calling a membership vote. And he even had a subordinate summon the police into the Society's Brooklyn headquarters offices to break up their board meeting and evict them from the premises. (Faith on the March by A. H. Macmillan, pp. 78-80)

    After securing the headquarters complex and the sect's corporate entities, Rutherford turned his attention to the rest of the organization. By gradually replacing locally elected elders with his own appointees, he managed to transform a loose collection of semi-autonomous democratically-run congregations into a tight-knit organizational machine run from his office. Some local congregations broke away, forming such Russellite splinter groups as the Chicago Bible Students, the Dawn Bible Students, and the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement, all of which continue to this day. But most Bible Students remained under his control, and Rutherford renamed them "Jehovah's Witnesses" in 1931, to distinguish them from these other groups.

    Meanwhile, he shifted the sect's emphasis from the individual "character development" Russell had stressed to vigorous public witnessing work, distributing the Society's literature from house to house. By 1927 this door-to-door literature distribution had become an essential activity required of all members. The literature consisted primarily of Rutherford's unremitting series of attacks against government, against Prohibition, against "big business," and against the Roman Catholic Church. He also forged a huge radio network and took to the air waves, exploiting populist and anti-Catholic sentiment to draw thousands of additional converts. His vitriolic attacks, blaring from portable phonographs carried to people's doors and from the loudspeakers of sound cars parked across from churches, also drew down upon the Witnesses mob violence and government persecution in many parts of the world.

    Like Russell, Rutherford tried his hand at prophecy and predicted that biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be resurrected in 1925 to rule as princes over the earth. (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, pp. 89-90) They failed to show up, of course, and Rutherford quit predicting dates. In fact, referring to that prophetic failure he later admitted, "I made an ass of myself." (The Watchtower, October 1, 1984, p. 24)

    Vice President Nathan Homer Knorr inherited the presidency upon Rutherford's death in 1942 but left doctrinal matters largely in the hands of Frederick W. Franz, who joined the sect under Russell and had been serving at Brooklyn headquarters since 1920. Lacking the personal magnetism and charisma of Russell and Rutherford, Knorr focused followers' devotion on the 'Mother' organization rather than on himself.

    After decades of publishing books and booklets authored by its presidents Russell and Rutherford, the Watchtower Society began producing literature that was written anonymously. But it was not impersonal, since the organization itself was virtually personified, and readers were directed to "show our respect for Jehovah's organization, for she is our mother and the beloved wife of our heavenly Father, Jehovah God." (The Watchtower, May 1, 1957, p. 285)

    A superb administrator, Knorr shifted the sect's focus from dynamic leadership to dynamic membership. He initiated training programs to transform members into effective recruiters. Instead of carrying a portable phonograph from house to house, playing recordings of "Judge" Rutherford's lectures at people's doorsteps, the average Jehovah's Witness began receiving instruction on how to speak persuasively. Men, women, and children learned to give sermons at the doors on a variety of subjects.

    Meanwhile Fred Franz worked behind the scenes to restore faith in the sect's chronological calculations, a subject largely ignored following Rutherford's prophetic failure in 1925. The revised chronology established Christ's invisible return as having taken place in 1914 rather than 1874, and, during the 1960's, the Society's publications began pointing to the year 1975 as the likely time for Armageddon and the end of the world. The prevailing belief among Jehovah's Witnesses today is that the Society never predicted "the end" for 1975, but that some over-zealous members mistakenly read this into the message. However, the official prediction is well documented. See, for example, the article titled "Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?" in The Watchtower of August 15, 1968, pp. 494-501. Allowing for a small margin of error, it concludes a lengthy discussion with this thought: "Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man's existence coincides with the sabbathlike thousand-year reign of Christ. . It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years." (p. 499) For several other quotes pointing specifically to 1975, see the book Index of Watchtower Errors (by David A. Reed, Baker Book House, 1990) pages 106-110.

    Knorr's training programs for proselytizing, plus Franz' apocalyptic projections for 1975, combined to produce rapid growth in membership, the annual rate of increase peaking at 13.5 percent in 1974. All of this pushed meeting attendance at JW Kingdom Halls from around 100,000 in 1941 to just under 5 million in 1975. Growth since then has been slower, but fairly steady in most years, with the result that nearly 11.5 million gathered at Kingdom Halls in the spring of 1992 for the Witnesses' annual communion or "Memorial" service commemorating Christ's death with unleavened bread and red wine.

    During the 1970's changes took place at Watchtower headquarters in regard to presidential power. First it became accepted in theory that the Christian Church (which Jehovah's Witnesses see their organization as encompassing) should not be under one-man rule, but rather should be governed by a body similar to the twelve apostles. The 7-member board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania had previously been portrayed as fulfilling this role, but in 1971 an expanded Governing Body was created with a total of eleven members, including the seven Directors. The aim was to demonstrate that the leadership derived authority from an apostolic source, rather than from Pennsylvania corporate law. This new Governing Body was displayed as further evidence of the sect's being the one true church, but in actuality Nathan Knorr continued to rule Jehovah's Witnesses much as Russell and Rutherford had done before him. That is, until 1975, when Governing Body members began insisting on exercising the powers granted to them in theory but that had never really been theirs in practice. Over the objections of Fred Franz the Body that he had been instrumental in creating actually began governing, so that when Nathan Knorr passed away in 1977 Franz inherited an emasculated presidency.

    Franz also inherited an organization troubled by discontent over the obvious failure of his prophecies of the world's end in the autumn of 1975. Even at Brooklyn headquarters little groups meeting privately for Bible study were beginning to question not only the 1914-based chronology that produced the 1975 deadline, but also the related teaching that the "heavenly calling" of believers ended in 1935, with new converts after that date consigned to an earthly paradise for their eternal reward.

    The hitherto fast-growing sect actually began losing members for the first time in decades, as people who had expected Armageddon in 1975 became disillusioned. When membership loss grew into the hundreds of thousands - a fact masked by new conversions in figures released by the Society, but reported in an investigative article in the Los Angeles Times of January 30, 1982 (pp. 4-5)-president Franz and the conservative majority on the Governing Body took action. In the spring of 1980 they initiated a crack-down on dissidents, breaking up the independent Bible study groups at headquarters, and forming "judicial committees" to have those seen as ringleaders put on trial for "disloyalty" and "apostasy."

    By the time this purge culminated in the forced resignation and subsequent excommunication of the president's nephew and fellow Governing Body member Raymond V. Franz (a development Time magazine found worthy of a full-page article, Feb. 22, 1982, p. 66) a siege mentality took hold on the world-wide organization. Even Witnesses who left quietly and voluntarily for personal reasons were denounced as disloyal and were ordered shunned, former friends forbidden to say as much as "a simple 'Hello'" to them. Thus, although Frederick W. Franz served as the sect's chief theologian for some fifty years-from the start of Knorr's presidency in 1942 until his own death on December 22, 1992 - the fact that he outlived his failed prophecies by more than fifteen years required him to impose a mini-Inquisition on the membership in order to keep his doctrinal and chronological framework in force for the remainder of his lifetime.

    Milton G. Henschel's selection as fifth Watchtower president on December 30, 1992, is truly significant for the 13 million now attending Kingdom Halls. At first glance the choice of a staunch conservative for the post may seem to guarantee a continuation of the status quo, with little change in the offing for Jehovah's Witnesses. But a closer look reveals this appointment as the conservative old guard's last stand - an indication that radical change in the sect's leadership and doctrines is imminent.

    At age 72 Henschel became the second-youngest member of the Governing Body, and he was selected to lead by men several years older than he is. (Both the average age and the median age at the time of Henschel's appointment calculated out to about 82 years.) With members in their eighties known to sleep through meetings and to vote on matters upon being awakened (See eyewitness Raymond Franz's account in his book Crisis of Conscience, p. 40.) the Body is losing its ability to provide purposeful and decisive leadership. Henschel was no doubt chosen in part due to his having vitality others lacked. Obviously, these aging leaders will not be able to hold the reigns of power much longer. The men who shared in building the Watchtower into what it is today will soon leave it behind for others to run.

    In the decades following the death of founder Charles Taze Russell, his successor J. F. Rutherford found himself forced to re-write many of the sect's major doctrines. Much the same can be expected when JWs of a new generation inherit the positions currently occupied by Milton Henschel and his fellow elderly Governing Body members. When new leaders eventually take over, will they drop the ban on blood transfusions? Only time will tell. But, even if they do, it will make no difference for those who have already died, nor for those Witnesses continuing to die while the teaching remains in place.

    Adapted from the book "Worse Than Waco: Jehovah's Witnesses Hide a Tragedy" copyright ©1993 by David A. Reed, P.O. Box 819, Assonet, MA 02702. For a more detailed account of Watchtower history see the book "BLOOD ON THE ALTAR" by David A. Reed (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Publishers, 1996).


  • RR


    I'm wondering why RR has ANY special concern over Russell period.

    Because I'm a Bible Student.

    Russell was a man like everyone else. God.....according to the bible.....doesn't NEED any man to accomplish his goals. He sent his son who was to complete his messages to man, other than his "word". Why does a group follow a course a man set, when god sent his OWN 'man' to teach? To study up on Russell with a view it has some life imparting message, is to go beyond scripture.

    True, he was just a man, but I personally believe he was used of the Lord. Biblical history shows God's dealing with man by uuse of man. Today it isn't any different.


  • run dont walk
    run dont walk
    While I no longer hold to Russell's teachings ( was just another millennialism ) we can not blame him for what the Watchtower later became. It was Rutherford, and in my mind Freddie Franz who made the WT the cult it is today.

    EXACTLY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    thanks blondie, excellent post, you know i love the history, keep it coming

    run dont walk

  • blondie

    I have posted the URL at the beginning for the WTs from 1879 to 1916. Feel free to look them over yourself and filter them through your JW training. I doubt you will find much from then that is promoted by the JWs today. But do JWs today know that or are their WTS provided history slanted or carefully crafted?

    I have not read these WTS except for the first one, and as time goes by I will read one and post my observations here.

    When did the WTS drop "presence" from the title of the WT?


  • blondie

    Quotes taken from Watchtowers at the site:


    August 1879 Watchtower Quotes

    (and comments in black)

    We have sent out about 6,000 copies each, of the July and August Nos. of "Zion's Watch Tower" as samples. (bold added by me)

    Did you always have the idea that these first 6,000 were requested by 6,000 people who paid for them?

    w89 2/15 24 They Can Help You to Preach

    When the first issue of The Watchtower was published in July 1879, only 6,000 copies were printed. Still, the small group who read them eagerly told others of their contents.

    This we cannot continue to do, because first, it is expensive, and second, we have no desire to waste truth

    by sending where it is not desired and would not be appreciated. We would like therefore to hear from all who want the paper regularly before the tenth day of August, that we may know what number of copies to publish for September.

    The price is very low

    in order to suit the purses of the majority of the interested ones, among whom are "not many rich," (for "God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom.") and unless a good large list of subscribers are had, fifty cents will fall far short of paying for printing, &c.

    Do not suppose these remarks to be an appeal for money.

    No, "Zion's Watch Tower" has, we believe JEHOVAH for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support.

    When He who says: "All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine," fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication.


    How will Christ Come?

    But of what material a spiritual body is composed, we know not, for "it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we shall be like Him." [Christ.]


    First, Angels can be, and frequently are, present, yet invisible; for, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that are His, and delivereth them;" and "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14.) Are you an heir of salvation? Then, doubtless, they have ministered to you. Have they ministered visibly or invisibly? Undoubtedly the latter.

    Second, Angels can and have appeared as men.

    Third, Spiritual bodies are glorious in their normal condition and are frequently spoken of as glorious and bright.

    We have thus far found spiritual bodies truly glorious; yet, without a miracle, either the opening of our eyes to see them, or their appearing in the flesh as men, they are invisible.


    Christ is a spiritual body since His resurrection.

    But where did He get the various bodies in which He appeared? I cannot answer you; but I believe, and you do also, other things which we cannot understand. I cannot understand how that grain of wheat grows. Yet I know it does. I know not how Christ turned the water into wine, or healed the sick, or raised the dead. Yet I believe that He did these things.


    Briefly stated, we believe the Scriptures to teach, that, at His coming and for a time after He has come, He will remain invisible; afterward manifesting or showing Himself in judgments and various forms, so that "every eye shall see Him." But every eye will not see Him at the same moment.

    He comes "as a thief" for the church--the waiting virgins, both "they that sleep in Jesus"-- the first resurrection--and "we, who are alive and remain," "shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air; so shall we ever be with the Lord."

    "In that day two shall be in the mill, two in the field, two in bed; one be taken and the other left"--like Enoch, who was not, for the Lord took him." The world will go on with its affairs, unconscious of the great changes of dispensation.

    These trumpets evidently are the same, but what? The seventh angel sounded. A sound on the air? No, not any more than the six which preceded it. They are each said to sound, and Sir Isaac Newton, Clarke, and all commentators of note agree that five or six of these trumpets are in the past. They have been fulfilled in events upon the Earth, each covering a period of time. They certainly must all sound before the resurrection, for that is under the seventh. If


    But will the world not see the saints when gathered or gathering? No; they are changed (in the twinkling of an eye) from Natural to Spiritual bodies

    But there is to be a harvest in the end of this age, as illustrated in the parable of the tares and wheat, and taught in the explanation of the same. Notice that both wheat and tares, are in the kingdom of heaven,--the church--and that this parable, as also the other six of the series, refers not to the non-professing world, but to two classes in the church.

    There will be no outward demonstration of the second advent having begun, and Christ being present, until the church is gathered, whenever it takes place--soon or in the distant future.

    We think we have good solid reasons --not imaginations--not dreams nor visions, but Bible evidences (known to the majority of our readers) that we are now "in the days of the Son (1879);" that "the day of the Lord" has come, and Jesus, a spiritual body, is present, harvesting the Gospel age; yet, as He had said, the world seeth Him no more; they eat, drink, etc., and know not.

    This day of the Lord, in which "He will show who is that blessed and only potentate, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings," is already dawning, (in 1879) but the majority of the professing church, as well as the world, are asleep; and to them--The day so cometh as a thief in the night. "But ye, brethren are not in darkness, that that day should come upon you as a thief." "We are not of the night, therefore let us not sleep as do others." This is the signification of our sub-title, "HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE."


    "Order is Heaven's first law." God has a plan, a systematic way of doing his work

    Jesus Christ is most emphatically the way of God's approach to us; the channel through which light and salvation flow within our reach, and also the way of our approach to God. He is thus the Mediator--"the way, the truth and the life."

    The poet must have had a glimpse of the grandeur of the plan and of Christ's relation to it when he penned the hymn entitled "Rock of Ages."



    The plan of salvation comprehended in the three worlds, is progressive in its character, requiring ages for its development.

    God deals with the race in some respects, as with an individual, adapting His truth to the capacity, as in infancy, youth and manhood, which will explain why some things are stated as they must appear to man, rather than the absolute truth, which can only be received by a mind made perfect.

    The Lord spoke to man as parents are compelled to talk to their children, coming down to their apprehension.

    Some think this is deception or lying, but we view it differently. It is making a vague impression rather than none at all. Tell a little one that the sun stands still and the earth moves, and he is confused, for he will believe his own sense or what appears true to his own eyes, rather than what is told him.

    Revelation is not designed to teach the science of astronomy, or anything else which man can discover himself by the use of his natural powers. God helps us only when we cannot help ourselves.

    The truth is revealed in a progressive manner, according to the plan of ages.


    If any one supposes that this, or any other prayer, will be answered while we remain in negligent misuse or disuse of the means appointed for the attainment of such blessings, they will be disappointed. God helps us to help ourselves. If God gives the increase, it is also necessary that Paul and Apollos should plant and water.

    The Bible clearly teaches the recovery of all from the loss by Adam, unconditionally; as they were not responsible for the curse, they are made partakers of that restoration without their choice, but it is necessary to obey the truth in order to secure the spiritual life, and consequent eternal salvation.


    One man has as much right to reject Astronomy because he cannot understand it, as another man has to reject the Bible for the same reason.

    What is confusion when not understood, becomes when explained beautiful and harmonious.

    Because, while learning, men differ and quarrel over their opinions does not militate against the truth of any system. If men were more fully controlled by the Spirit of Christ, they could differ in opinion without quarreling.

    Until absolute knowledge is gained, each ray of light will at least modify former ideas.

    We do not accuse men generally of dishonesty; we are glad to believe that all parties have some truth, and that they defend their errors with sincerity. None of us are perfect in knowledge, and doubtless all have in the past sincerely believed to be truth, and earnestly defended what is now regarded as error. This should make us feel kindly toward all who differ with us, and who cannot yet see all we can see.

    The truths concerning the "time of the end" are said to be "shut up and sealed" until that time. Then "knowledge shall be increased," and "the wise shall understand." The Papal dominion over both Church and State crippled every energy and prevented Bible searching. The overthrow of that dominion in 1798 by the French Revolution marked the beginning of the "time of the end" (Dan. 11:35), and opened the way for a multitude of improvements and the "increase of knowledge."


    If Christ had wanted the multitudes to be converted by his preaching, He would have preached to them so they would have understood him.

  • blondie

    September 1879 Watchtower Tidbits


    The day of the Lord.

    Zeph. 3:8

    . So extreme is the trouble here described, that the world is said to be burned up by the Lord's anger --yet it has a good effect, for after all the indignation against and destruction of governments, the people remain [the destruction is that of government life,]

    Very many Scriptures seem to teach that the kingdoms of earth will be overthrown by a rising of the people

    : goaded to desperation from lack of employment and seeking relief from the oppression of bloodthirsty governments. Such a rising and overturning, Socialists, Communists, and Nihilists of to-day would gladly bring about if they could.

    They will seek to be covered and protected by

    the great mountains (kingdoms,) of earth and to be hid in the great rocks of this world's societies. (Masonic, Odd Fellows, &c.,) but they shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's anger,"

    Here are a number of events-- The "Time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation &c.;" The return of the Jews to Palestine and the reorganization of the Jewish nation though not independent; The gathering of great wealth to Jerusalem which tempts the hordes of Gog, Togomar and many peoples to go up "to take a spoil;" "The battle of the great day of God Almighty" fought at Jerusalem

    These events we expect in about the order mentioned. As most of our readers are aware, we believe that the word of God furnishes us with indubitable proof that we are now living in this "Day of the Lord" that it began in 1873, and is a day of forty years duration as was "the day of temptation in the wilderness," when Israel proved God and saw His works forty years." Heb. 3:9.


    The same care is essential in regard to the relation between the natural and the spiritual, and the two features of the work of Christ. Extreme views are held by many on all these and many other points. The seeming opposites are often but different parts of the same great truth.

    The natural and the spiritual in God's plan are in many respects the cause of stumbling. Some see one, and some the other, both failing to see the relation between them. For this reason we have extreme literalists and extreme spiritualists. Because it can be shown that much of the old testament history is allegorical; some ignore the history entirely, and see only that of which it is the allegory. Adam and Eve represent Christ and the church; why need we for that reason ignore the history of Adam and Eve?

    Why not admit what the bible clearly teaches: that there are, in God's plan two Jerusalems, one Earthly and the other Heavenly, adapted to the restored Jew and the glorified Saint? Why ignore either one? All the promises of restoration must refer to the earthly,

    We are not infallible, and have found it necessary to modify some statements and opinions of the past, as a clearer view of God's plan comes to us.

  • blondie

    October 1879 WT Interesting Tidbits vs Today?s WTS



    We now come to the consideration of the Church's condition during this period of trouble.

    Will the Church go through this "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation?"

    The answer, to be understood, must recognize two classes of Christians as being IN THE CHURCH now and during the gospel age,

    While the few "escape," the majority of professing Christians, sincere, earnest, zealous, in their way, though they be, are yet, on their own profession, not entirely consecrated, and do not wish to be.

    This class

    will be overtaken by the "day of the Lord" unprepared.

    Because, "overcharged with the world, self, and the cares of this life," they are not watching, and are therefore taken "unawares," and as in a "snare" (see Luke 21:34,35), "and they shall not escape."

    This class, sometimes called "carnal-minded, babes in Christ," are blessed in this great trouble; for, though the love of Christ does not constrain them to entire consecration because of the great strength of the world and self, yet, when put into this "furnace" of trouble, the miserable dross will be eliminated, their eyes relieved of worldly blindness and anointed with truth that they may truly see; their garments, too, which have become so torn that "the shame of their nakedness appears;" and, spotted by the flesh and soiled by contact with the world, these, with much anguish and pain, shall, during this "day of wrath, wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb," and "the Lamb in the throne shall feed them."

    It is then, while the "little flock," the "Bride," the "overcoming church," is thus enthroned with Jesus, and while she is inflicting the judgments written, and while the other class of Christians in the Church, the carnal-minded ones, left in the world are "washing their robes," that the Lamb feeds them with truth, and leads them (some quickly, others more slowly) unto living fountains of water, bringing, finally, as many as will be led to the heavenly condition, beyond all tears, pain and sorrow, receiving them into his eternal home; and so we see them

    "Reconciliation of the World."


    If you believe in the full reconciliation of the World, does it not amount to Universalism?


    No, I think not, although I do expect that the majority of the race will ultimately be saved to the lesser salvation.


    You said that Adam was the only example of a perfect man? Was not Jesus as perfect a man (in his human nature) as Adam?


    No: Jesus was undefiled, being "born not of the will of the flesh, but of God"--"begotten of the Holy Ghost," he was uncontaminated by sin.--"Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," yet, in his human, physical being, He was not perfect and consequently not like Adam, who was perfect. Remember that "Jesus took upon Him the likeness of sinful flesh."


    I know of no scriptures which teach that any but the "little flock," or bride company, and the company who come out of the great tribulation (Rev. 7:14,) will ever be given spiritual bodies

    "The Ten Virgins."

    We do not object to changing our opinions, on any subject, or discarding former applications of prophecy, or any other scripture, when we see a good reason for the change,--in fact, it is as important that we should be willing to unlearn errors and mere traditions, as to learn truth. The removal of error is as clearing the rubbish from the surface that the beautiful verdure may appear. But we should be careful in our anxiety to get rid of error, or to build up a new theory, that we do not throw away any truth.

    It is not so easy to tell what men will do, as to tell what they have done; (even prophecy cannot be understood in detail until it is fulfilled:)

    and we are sure that those who have made and accepted the prediction are further now from the old application than we are.

    From the death of Jacob to the death of Christ, --1845 years

    ,--is the measure of the first or twelve tribe dispensation. From the death of Christ in the Spring of A.D. 33, until the Spring of A.D. 1878, is the measure of the second-- another period of 1845 years. The two dispensations are equal in length, the second beginning where the first ends, at the cross, or death of Christ.

    The tarrying of Jesus for 30 years

    before his baptism and entrance on the harvest work, has its parallel in the tarrying time between 1844 and 1874, at which later point the harvest of the gospel dispensation began. Christ's personal ministry of 3-1/2 years, ending at his death, has its parallel in the 3-1/2 years of harvest from the Autumn of 1874 until the Spring of 1878.

    The Anglo-Turkish treaty of 1878

    , made about the time of the Berlin Congress, securing certain legal favors to the Jews, opening the door for their restoration, is certainly in harmony with the application, and we are not ashamed of our rejoicing at its confirmation. We regard this whole affair as a remarkable confirmation of the truth of bible prophecies, and of the gospel of Christ.

    The movement is a representative one. Not all the church, no not all living christians "took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom," but it was an important movement in the church, and ended in disappointment in 1844. "Whilst the Bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept." Observe how closely the tarrying time of the parable fits the time for the tarrying in the holy place, as indicated by the prophetic periods. The night of the parable and its tarrying time are identical, ending when the Bridegroom comes.

    The tarrying of the parable ends where the Bridegroom of the parable comes

    . His presence in the character of the Bridegroom is what puts an end to the tarrying. His presence makes it morning. The cry made at midnight of the parable points to the morning of the parable, and could not properly continue after the tarrying had ended by the only way it could end, the coming of the Bridegroom.

    All who understand the arguments, admit that the tarrying of the parable began in 1844, and ended in 1874, and it has always been urged in favor of the cry which pointed to 1874, for the coming of the Bridegroom, being the "midnight cry," because it began at midnight,--1859--which is a very consistent reason.

    Now brethren, all who can hear me, I want it clearly understood that I have not given up the application of the parable, and can see no sufficient reason for so doing. I believe the going forth ended in 1844, that the tarrying ended in 1874, and therefore the cry pointing to 1874 was the midnight cry, and I believe it was consistent that the name "midnight cry" then disappeared from the publication, because, as stated at the time, it had done its work; but in harmony with that faith I also believe that Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874.

    The Wedding Garment.

    That translation was not due in the Spring of 1878 is certain, and yet too many were inclined to treat others as not "in the light" for not expecting it then. Being positive or dogmatic does not make anything true, even if it does make an impression. Shall we not learn wisdom by our mistakes?

    We believe that this is not so much a doctrinal as a practical test, and also that a sifting out rather than a gathering in is accomplished by it.

    The Two Adams.


    Correspondents Questions.

    Q. You say "We do not preach a second chance." If many who now have the Bible, etc., have a chance in the future, is it not a second chance?

    A. We think that few have a full chance now. If they have and reject, they crucify the Son of God afresh &c., and are without hope. The chance of the present time--Gospel dispensation--is to become a part of the Bride company, "joint heirs with Jesus" and members of the God family. The chance or opportunity for this high calling closes when the Bride is complete. (Probably very soon.) In the future men will have a chance to become perfect men, in harmony with God--reconciled-- but still MEN; perfect natural bodies but not spiritual beings. Can this then be called a second chance, since the offers are entirely different?

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