SELECTED HISTORIC DOCTRINAL CRITIQUES
A telegram which appeared in a number of daily papers recently stating that "Pastor" Charles T. Russell had been "called" to a [I.B.S.A.] church in Washington is another illustration of how the Brooklyn gentleman ... labors to keep up the appearance that he is an orthodox minister. There have been so many items of this kind in the papers heretofore that the deceptive impression conveyed cannot be thought to be unintended. The fact is that whenever a new group of Russellites is organized anywhere, the first thing the congregation does is to issue a "call" to Russell to become its pastor. He is thus the pastor of all Russellite congregations throughout the world, and performs his pastoral duties for all of them without removing from Brooklyn. -- THE CONTINENT, December 5, 1912, edited.
Pastors who have been calling so loudly for literature to counteract the propaganda of "Pastor" Russell need ask no more than Charles C. Cook of New York has now supplied them in his own little pamphlet "All About One Russell", and in the companion booklet which he publishes at the same time, "Some Facts and More Facts", the author of which is Rev. J. J. Ross, of Hamilton, Ontario, against whom Russell vainly tried to make out a libel case. Mr. Ross reproduces the original circular on which the futile libel complaint was based, and adds a lively account of Pastor Russell's grotesque confusion under cross-examination in the Canadian court where the preliminary hearing was had. Russell made such a ridiculous showing there that the case never got farther. ... There is not so much to be said about Russell after all, and what is said here is quite enough to convince the unprejudiced that he is not at all the sort of man to whom a God with no delight in liars would commit a special revelation of divine truth. -- THE CONTINENT, August 14, 1913, edited.
THE ADVENT REVIEW AND SABBATH HERALD
January 7, 1890
The Millennial Dawn (edited)
We have received several letters of late, calling our attention to a work entitled, "The Millennial Dawn", by C. T. Russell, of Allegheny, Pa., one of them from an observer of the seventh day, who, while professing to regard the third angel's message as taught by Seventh-day Adventists, as all right, and a great advance in the line of truth, still thinks there is great additional light in this "Millennial Dawn" book. (There is NO DOUBT in this Editor's mind that the person who composed this Letter To The Editor was CTR himself, plus the previous letters had been from MFR and other Russellites. (See CTR Financial Biogpraphy.) This Editor once saw a FAKE LTTE published in the large Atlanta Constitution newspaper, which expressed interest in and advocated approval of one of CTR's books, which had a signature something like, "M. Ackley", or similar.)
The view set forth in this book is but another form of the hydra-headed, many-sided, changeable, and, in some shape, almost ubiquitous, "age-to-come" doctrine. And the most we have to say is, that any one who has professed to accept the view of the third angel's message set forth by S. D. Adventists, with its attendant truths, should have studied their applications of Scripture to better purpose than to be shaken or confused by such teaching as is set forth in the work under notice.
To illustrate: There is, in the opening of the book, a diagram setting forth the procession of ages, past, present, and future; and in said diagram there is located on this earth a reign of Christ for a thousand years next succeeding the end of the present dispensation; and to this time and reign of Christ, 1 Cor. 15:25 is applied: "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet." Here the work of subjugating his enemies is attributed to Christ; and the time when he performs this work of subjugation is during the thousand years following the close of this dispensation.
This point is vital to every "age-to-come" theory. Whatever differing forms of fungi and excrescences may appear when they are drawn out to their remote particulars, they all have this feature in common; namely, a reign of Christ on this earth for a thousand years immediately following the present age, during which time he subjugates his enemies unto himself. And all appeal to 1 Cor. 15:25, as the passage which sustains this view.
But the truth is, that passage does not refer to the coming thousand years at all; Christ is not the one who subdues his enemies, and the future thousand years is not the time when this work is accomplished. This we will now prove by the most direct statements of the Scriptures. The original prophecy (of which 1 Cor. 15:25 is a restatement) is found in Ps. 110:1
"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
Christ's enemies are made his footstool, certainly, when they are put "under his feet," as in 1 Cor. 15:25; and this scripture must refer to exactly the same time and work as Ps. 110:1. But Paul makes a further application of this psalm in Heb. 10:12, 13. He says:
"But this man [Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God."
This refers to the same time as the psalm, "Sit thou at my right hand." So after Christ had died upon the cross, had been raised from the dead, and ascended to heaven, he took the position which the Lord told him to take in Ps. 110:1. That is the position which he has occupied ever since his ascension, and which he still occupies.
How long will he hold this position with the Father, and with what will the period end? Paul tells us plainly, as he continues (verse 13) : "From henceforth expecting, till his enemies be made his footstool." So he will hold the position where he now is, on the throne of his Father, till his enemies are made his footstool, or are put under his feet. The reign, therefore, referred to in 1 Cor. 15:25, must be his present reign with his Father in heaven, and not a reign to take place in the future on his own throne.
It is the Father, consequently, who puts Christ's enemies under his feet, or makes them his footstool, according to his original promise; and 1 Cor. 15:25 might be paraphrased to read like this: "For he [Christ] must reign [where he now is at the Father's right hand] till he [the Father] hath put all enemies under his [Christ's] feet [according to the promise in Ps. 110 : 1]." Now, here are the statements of Scripture plain and explicit. There is no question as to their meaning, nor doubt about their application.
The "reign" referred to is the present reign of Christ in heaven, as priest upon his Father's throne. Zech. 6:13. And he will remain there till his enemies are made his footstool, which latter work the Son does not do himself, but the Father has engaged to do in behalf of the Son.
Why not pay attention to these facts, and give these scriptures their proper bearing? Whoever will do this, will be in no danger of taking the wrong reign, giving it the wrong time, and attributing the work to the wrong person.
The book under notice confounds the reign of Christ on his own throne with that which he first performs in conjunction with his Father; it has Christ do a work which is done by the Father only; and it puts into a coming thousand years, a work which is being done now, and which is to end with this dispensation. In other Words, it is a whole dispensation out of joint with the Scriptures.
And when we come to adjust this matter, and apply this reign of Christ to the proper work, and to the time where it belongs, what becomes of each and every so-called "age-to-come" theory extant? It is wrecked beyond repair; it is more completely demolished than was the temple of old Dagon, when Samson wrenched away the pillars thereof; every connection is broken up, and everything is thrown out of harmony.
And so it must remain while the Scriptures read as they do. But there they stand; and they cannot be changed. What, then, is the use of spending time with such a theory, or allowing it to unsettle us on any of the plain testimony of the Scriptures, or inveigle us into the notion that it can be harmonized with the "present truth"? It cannot be done. If our brethren will thoroughly acquaint themselves with the plain teaching of God's word relative to the present position and work of Christ, and the current fulfillments of prophecy, they will never be troubled or confused by the multiplied "age-to-come" speculations which are now flooding the land.
The Vancouver Sun
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
October 17, 1914
"Pastor" Russell and His Teachings
In view of the fact that an extensive and determined campaign is being carried on in the city and province for the propagation of "Millenial Dawnism", or the peculiar teachings of the self-styled "Pastor" Russell, by an organization calling itself the "International Bible Students' Association," and realizing that many well-intentioned and unsuspecting people are being deceived by the misleading titles of this organization and its various publications, the General Ministerial Association of Vancouver consider it wise and necessary, in the interests of truth and the public, to make the following statement:
Having made a thorough investigation into the record of the man himself, and his distinctive teachings, as set forth in his "Studies in the Scriptures," "Bible Students' Monthly," "The Watch Tower," "People's Pulpit" and various other publications, we find the following:
1. He teaches that the Bible is not a sufficient guide to men; the careful study of the six series of "Studies in the Scriptures", written by him, being "necessary to our full enlightenment", for the teachings of Jesus and His apostles were lost in the early centuries and only lately have they been recovered in Russell's books. He contends that "people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself," but in his books, which are the Bible in an arranged form. Contrast with this such scriptures as John 5:39; 2 Tim. 3:15:16; Deut. 4:2, and Rev. 22:17:19.
2. He obtains his sense of Scripture by means of key words chosen and capriciously explained by himself; by a continual paraphrasing of the Bible to suit his own views; by erroneous translation of the original, and even by sacrilegious alterations of the very language itself.
3. He denies the Diety of Christ, conceiving of Him as a created Spirit-being; also His incarnation, since he teaches that Jesus was not God "manifest in the flesh" when on earth, but only a perfect man, snd it was not until His death that He became even a partaker of the divine nature, after which He was raised to the "highest order of spiritual being" and became "a God", "Michael the Archangel." Compare with this Psalm 45:6:7 and Hebs. 1:8:9. Isaiah 9:6, and Matt 4:14:16, Micah 5:2, John 1:1, 20:28, Acts 20:28, Roms. 9:5, I Tim. 3:16, Titus 2:13, 1 John 5:20, also Isaiah 44:8 and Rev. 1:8:18. John 17:5, Col. 2:9. Phil. 2:6.
4. He denies the resurrection of Jesus, teaching that "The Man, Christ Jesus, suffered for us death in the most absolute sense of the word, everlasting destruction;" that, "The Man, Jesus, is dead, forever dead, and that His body disappeared from the tomb supernaturally, or was dissolved into gases." Christ, he says, is no longer human, and we must not expect Him to come again as a human being. In opposition to all this, which simply means the Annihilation of Jesus Christ," see John 10: 17:18, Acts 1:3, Rom. 1:4, 1 Cor. 15:14. as well as Matt. 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20 also Acts 1:11, 1 Tim. 2:5.
5. He teaches that Christ did not complete the atonement on Cavalry, hut that "the sacrifice was allowed to continue on a large scale, a sacrificing of the church" whose members' sacrificed lives, counted in with His, constitute the blood of Christ which seals the new Covenant between God and the world; that salvation was not designed for all men in this age, but only for a handful or "little flock" (presumably his own followers) and that the gosepl call to the world ceased entirely in 1881, since when the Christian churches have not been recognized by God. Contrast this with the following and scores of similar Scriptures: Isaiah 45:22, 55:1. John 3:16, 7:37. Titus 2:11, Rev. 22:17, 2 Cor, 6:2, Acts 17:30.
6. He affirms in the face of all scholarship that the Hebrew and Greek words "sheol" and "hades" mean nothing but the grave or a state of oblivion and therefore at death men become unconscious or extinct, until God recreates them at the resurrection. That this is entirely un-scriptural is shown by the fact that the American revision never translates these words, by the grave, as well as by Isaiah 14, Psa. 16:10, Dan. 12:7, Matt. 17:3, 22:32, Luke 23:43, Phil. 1:23, 2 Cor. 6:6:8, 12:2:4, Heb. 11:5, 12:23.
7. He attributes the origin of the doctrine of the Trinity to satan, misrepresents the teaching of the churches upon it, and asserts that the Holy Spirit is a mere "influence of God," thus opposing the teachings of the entire New Testament, which speaks of the Spirit as possessing all the attributes of personality and God-head, e. g., John 14:17-26. 15:26, 16:7-13, Cor. 2:10-11, 12:11 and Matt. 28:19.
8. He asserts that Christ's second advent took place in 1874 A. D.: that the saints were resurrected in 1878, and are now here with Christ, who is present as a "spirit-being" and "will shortly change and glorify as his members and joint-heirs, all his faithful followers" or "the little flock" of Russellites who will become like Him, no longer human, but possessed of "the divine nature and form" in "superlative degree." These only can possess immortality, according to Russell. Contrast with this the words of Christ in Matt. 24:23-27. 42, 44, 25:13 and Acts 1:7, also I Thess. 4:16-17.
9. He teaches that the end of the age, the overthrow of Christendom, and all governments is to take place in October 1914, when the millennium will be established, and the dead recreated for a second chance of salvation, which for them means, not Immortality, but "a nature susceptible to death", always mortal and for ever sustained by food. Lately, he has begun to equivocate as regards the date, October 1914, but in "Studies in the Scriptures" he again and again emphatically asserts this date to be correct. During this millenium, he asserts the Jews will rule over humanity on this earth, while the little flock" are in the highest glory with Christ. This is simply another of the many futile attempts to convert the Scriptures into a sort of inspired almanac, the detail of which Is so thoroughly upset by Rev. 20:4-5 that Russell repudiates this latter text as spurious.
10. According to his own testimony, given under oath in Hamilton police court, Ontario, last year, Russell was never ordained as a clergyman by any man or body of men, but gave himself the title of "pastor."
11. He had only "probably seven years" education at an ordinary public school, never entered a higher school or learning, never took any training in philosophy, science, or theology, and could neither read Latin nor Hebrew, nor even the Greek alphabet, yet in all his writings he poses as an expert in these languages, contradicting the best scholarship on most important points of Bible interpretation.
12. Some years ago, his wife secured a divorce from him with alimony, on the grounds of cruelty and improper relations with other women; he appealed against the decision to the higher courts and twice lost the appeal. For five years he fought against paying the alimony, but his wife obtained Judgment against him with costs and increased alimony, and at length his friends paid it for him. These facts he admitted under oath at Hamilton laat year.
13. He stands charged by the Brooklvn Eagle and Rev. J. J. Ross, Baptist minister of Hamilton, Ontario, not only of the above, but also of selling or allowing to be sold, through his Bible office "Miracle Wheat" at $60 a bushel, the proceeds going to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and holding controlling interests in the Pittsburg Asphaltum Co., Selica Brick Co, United States Coal & Coke Co., Brazilian Turpentine Co., a Pittsburg Cemetery Co., and the United States Investment Co., also of influencing the sick and dying to make their wills in his favor. For this he took legal action against both these parties, but lost both cases, admitting under oath in cross-examination, most of the charges.
14. His literature is sold and distributed under misleading titles calculated to deceive the unsuspecting public, e. g., "Studies in the Scrip-tres," "Bible Students' Monthly," "People's Pulpit," "The Watch Tower. His organizations, "The International Bible Students' Association" and "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" are so named for the same purpose, though the former consists only of persons holding Russell's views, and the latter has no connection with any Bible and Tract society recognized by any denomination. He also uses the title "Laymen's Home Missionary Movement" for a similar deceptive purpose, as well as the names "London Tabernacle", and "Brooklyn Tabernacle", to produce the impression that he is successor to Spurgeon and Talmage in these cities, though his buildings have no connection whatever with those where these men preached.
15. A further deception is the continued circulation of a card purporting to be a challenge issued by a Mr. Skelton, of San Diego, to anyone to prove such statements as are here made, and stating that there Is $1,000 in a San Diego bank to be paid for such proof. This has been investigated, and we find there has not been, and is not now, any deposit for such purpose in the bank named, while Mr. Skelton will make no reply to any inquiry.
16. We have been very slow to bring this matter again before the public at this time, but since the agents of Russell have lately intensified their campaign of mlsrepresentatlon of both Scripture and fact, and are making capital out of the present European crisis, we feel it our duty to make this statement. It is made without prejudice, solely In the public interest, that well-meaning people may not be led astray on matters of such importance by one merely posing as a religious teacher and scholar, and only after a thorough investigation of the facts and the securing of documentary evidence to verify each statement made.
THE PRESENT TRUTH
February 4, 1915
A FALSE PROPHET EXPOSED (edited)
With the passing of the year 1914, many Bible students have special cause to remember the solemn warning of the Master to His disciples as they sat with Him on the Mount of Olives nearly nineteen hundred years ago, with reference to His second advent in power and glory:
"If any man shall say unto you, 'Lo, here is Christ, or there', believe it not. For there shall arise ... false prophets." -- Matt. xxiv. 28.
Now if there is one characteristic above all others that marks out a false prophet, it is the unscriptural practice of setting a definite time for the return of our Lord. At the present time we have a notable example of one such in Pastor C. T. Russell, the apostle of Millennial Dawnism. Books and papers containing his Scripture expositions and sermons are being scattered broadcast over the land and many are being deceived by the subtle and misleading teachings contained therein. Perhaps no statement proves more conclusively that Mr. Russell is a false prophet of the most bold and daring type than his declaration in volume two of his "Studies in the Scriptures", which is one of six volumes which comprise his principal works and which represent the sum and substance of Millennial Dawnism. We read on pages seventy-six and seventy-seven of this volume:
"In this chapter we present Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the Gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914, and that that date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men. ... At that date the kingdom of God ... will obtain full, universal control, ... It will then be set up, or firmly established, in the earth, on the ruins of present institutions ... He whose right it is thus to take the dominion will then be present as earth's new ruler."
Certainly no prophecy could have been more ill-timed and incongruous with the actual state of affairs. Here we are, at the end of the first month of 1915, and what do we see? The rule of imperfect men put down? The full and universal control of the kingdom of Christ firmly established on the ruins of earthly kingdoms?
No! On the contrary, we are at present witnessing the most gigantic and bloody conflict between the nations that the world has ever beheld. The war fiend is carrying all before him, devastating the smiling surface of the earth, demolishing homesteads, ruthlessly destroying domestic peace and happiness, raining death and destruction upon harmless women and children, and causing untold privation, misery, and wretchedness over a large area of the inhabited world.
Never were the principles of Christ's kingdom more completely ignored than they are today, and never was the world farther removed from submission to the control of Him Who is the Prince of Peace than now. If Pastor Russell's false prophecies have been most ill timed, God, in His providence has certainly seen to it that their exposure has been most timely and complete.
The end of all things is, without doubt, at hand. But neither Pastor Russell nor anyone else can say just how near it is. Indeed, the explicit teaching of the Master forbids any man to set a definite time when He shall return to reckon with the nations that have despised Hie teaching and rejected His Gospel. Every prophecy points clearly to the rapidly approaching consummation of all things, but the injunction is:
"Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. ... That day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only." -- Matt. xxiv. 12, 36.
Don't Be Fooled
The Eskridge Kansas Tribune-Star
May 16, 1918
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
The higher the sounding title, the more mystic may be the fraud. Doubtless, many of you are at this time having thrown into your front doors a high sounding title printed on two cheap sheets called, "Kingdom News," published by the so-called "International Bible Students Association," Brooklyn, NY., posing to be for the "Promotion of Christian Knowledge," or better known as the propagation of Russellism, one of the most notorious heresies ever sprang out of hell. A half truth is often the vilest lie ever told.
An attempt to undermine the faith of the people in genuine Christianity by the mis-interpretation of the Bible is the basest sacrilige ever perpetrated. Russellism is guilty of all this and more. When you see any publications bearing the title of the "Kingdom News," "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society," and "The Peoples' Pulpit Association," you need not hesitate to label it "rotten to the core," and will do future posterity an inestimable favor by consigning it to the fire if you do not want your unthinking friends or children to be contaminated with atrocious non-Christian and unpatriotic trash.
I say "non-Christian," because it contradicts every fundamental principal of Christianity, and gives the lie to the very teachings of Christ Himself. It is not only "non-patriotic," and that been condemned as unfit to be carried through the mails, as some of it has been prohibited, but as an organization, is so traitorous that it refuses to permit patriotic addresses to be made in its halls as was desired a few weeks ago in Brooklyn, N. Y., by the most reputable citizens, in the interests of the Liberty Loans, or other interests for which our heroic sons are offering their lives in defense of our nation, including for these non-patriotic vultures, at a time when the liberty and freedom of all the world is threatened.
Notwithstanding its hypocritical pretended abuse of the autocratic bloodthirsty kaiser, SINCE the federal officers have laid their strong hands upon this non-patriotic traitorous literature it had been sending out to poison the minds of good citizens. Not content to refrain from other traitorous offenses, when the Government rebuked them so justly by excluding their foul trash from the U.S. mail, they sneak out like sneaking curs defiantly slapping the Government in the face, as much as to say, sneeringly, "Uncle Sam, to hades with your mail, we will deliver our literature by the hand of our dupes, right into the doors of every citizen, and you help yourself if you can, aha aha!" And they find enough deluded people (some of whom are good meaning folks,) to carry this rot to our doors and leave it here to infest our people with trash, a thousand times worse than the buflalo moths, and another pest upon which there is being made a vigorous fight.
The readers of this paper, remember the recent humiliating, but most manly apology to his many hundred subscribers the editor made having been duped into buying one of these books, and advertising same, without examining the contents of the treasonable book. If such persons are caught by such schemes, thinking it is helping out a good cause, as he did, what might we not expect by the less thinking people? The public is constantly warned to be aware of wolves in sheep clothing, in these days of spies and traitors of American rights and liberties.
You watch closely the emissaries of this cult and see how much they contribute to the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A., and Y.W.C.A., the Baby Bonds, and Liberty Loan Bonds, and draw your own conclusions. If this gentle hint at what Russellism is not sufficient, I have the "goods" in my possession to illuminate it a bit more. This is no time to be paliating every farce that comes along posing under some color of Christianity. -- Rev. William M. Dye
THE PRESENT TRUTH
AUGUST 17, 1922
I COULD NOT BE A RUSSELLITE (edited)
There need be no question as to the manner of Christ's second coming.
The Bible clearly states that "this same Jesus" shall come
"with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God".
I could not be a Russellite, because the teachings of Russellism and the teachings of that reliable and God-given guidebook, the Bible, are in very many things diametrically opposed. Russellism, sometimes called Millennial Dawnism, teaches that the second coming of Christ took place in 1874, and the second advent, therefore, is not a future event, but lies in the past. That is, Christ has already come, and is here now. This teaching is plainly set forth in Pastor Russell's "Studies in the Scriptures", volume 2, pages 170, 188, 211, 234, 189, 237, and 239.
The whole teaching of the Bible on the question of the second coming of Christ leads us to believe that the second coming of Christ is still a future event. Russellism teaches that the second coming of Christ is not a literal coming, but a secret, invisible, spiritual coming. This is taught in the same volume of "Studies in the Scriptures," pages 107 and 129. The Bible teaches us, on the contrary, that the second coming of Christ will be a literal coming, a bodily coming, a visible return of a real being.
Russellism denies the resurrection of Christ in the following language, which occurs in "Studies in the Scriptures," volume 2, pages 129 and 130.
"Our Lord's human body was, however, supernaturally removed from the tomb; because had it remained there it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples, who were not yet instructed in spiritual things. ... We know nothing about what became of it except that it did not decay nor corrupt. Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as a grand memorial of God's love ... no one knows; nor is such knowledge essential."
In thus denying the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Russellism does away with one of the vital, fundamental truths of the Gospel, and this in the face of all the united testimony of the Son of God Himself, the testimony of the four gospels, the epistles, and the Revelation.
When it is remembered with
-- what iteration and reiteration this great truth of the resurrection of Christ is emphasized in the Scriptures;
-- what impetus it gave the first preaching of the Gospel;
-- what an inspiration it was to the disciples;
-- what a comfort it was to Mary Magdalene, James, Peter, John, and the others who saw Him alive in His own veritable body, who walked with Him, talked with Him, even ate with Him after His resurrection;
-- and what a hope it has provided for the Christians of all ages,
it seems sacrilegious to speak of Christ's body as being "dissolved into gases".
ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB TO BE RAISED IN 1925(?)
Russellism did teach, when Charles T. Russell was alive, that the resurrection of the dead took place in 1878. This, as well as some other teachings, seems to have been revised in the most recent Russellite publications. For instance, J. F. Rutherford, who succeeded Russell as the head of Russellism, in his pamphlet, "Millions Now Living Will Never Die", published in 1920, on page 88, says :
"The chief thing to be restored is the human race to life; and since other Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac. Jacob, and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favour, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of the faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity, and made visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth."
On pages 89 and 90, Mr. Rutherford says: "We may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the faithful prophets of old." On page 97, Mr. Rutherford says:
"Based upon the argument heretofore set forth, then, that the old order of things, the old world, is ending and is therefore passing away, and that the new order is coming in, and that 1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of reconstruction, it is reasonable to conclude that millions of people now on the earth will be still on the earth in 1925. Then, based upon the promises set forth in the divine Word, we must reach the positive and indisputable conclusion that millions now living will never die."
It will thus be seen that there has been a decided shift in Russellite views since the death of Charles T. Russell, who taught that the resurrection took place in 1878, whereas his successor teaches that the resurrection will take place in 1925. Neither view is Biblical. The Bible teaches us that the resurrection of the righteous will take place when Jesus comes the second time, and it makes plain that no one can know when that event will take place.
RUSSELLISM CHRONOLOGY ON CASTORS
Russellism ten years ago believed that:
-- in 1914 "the times of the gentiles" was to "fully run out;
-- in 1914 Christ's kingdom was to be "fully established";
-- in 1914 "the final end of the kingdoms of this world" was to be reached;
-- that 1914 was to be "the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men";
-- that "before the end of 1914, the last member of the divinely recognized church of Christ" was to be "glorified with the Head";
-- that in 1914 the "reign" of the Russellites "over the world" was to begin;
-- that in 1914 "the battle of that great day of God Almighty" was to end;
-- that in 1914 "the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership" was to take place;
-- and that in 1914 "the overthrow of 'Christendom' so-called," was to transpire.
The year 1914 came and went, but the things predicted by Russellism did not materialize. Then Russellism shifted the date for the fulfilment of these things to 1915, and in the 1914 editions of "Studies in the Scriptures," the date 1915 is put in the place of 1914. As 1915 now has also gone, but without any of the things predicted by Russellism having taken place --
-- the "times of the gentiles" has not "fully run out";
-- Christ's kingdom is not yet "fully established";
-- "the final end of the kingdoms of this world" has not yet been reached;
-- the "rule of imperfect men" has not come to an end;
-- the Russellites are not yet "glorified";
-- their "reign" has not yet begun "over the world";
-- "the battle of that great day of God Almighty" has not yet occurred;
-- "the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership" is still in the future;
-- and "Christendom so-called" is not yet overthrown;
it becomes necessary to set another date. This the Russellites have done by selecting 1925 as the year which will witness the ushering in of the predicted events. It is interesting to notice the method by which Russellism arrives at the new date. Mr. Rutherford, in his pamphlet, "Millions Now Living Will Never Die", accepts the jubilee system of ancient Israel as his starting point. Mr. Rutherford declares that "the Lord commanded Moses to institute the Sabbath system in the year that Israel entered the land of Canaan, which was 1,575 years before A.D. 1, and that every fiftieth year should be unto them a year of jubilee."
According to the accepted chronology, it was 1,450 years before A.D. 1 that Israel entered the land of Canaan; but to accept this as correct would not bring the Russellites to 1925, which date they desire to use, and therefore, a new chronology is manufactured. In order to arrive at 1925, Mr. Rutherford then uses Jeremiah 25:11, which reads: "This whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years," and 2 Chron. 36: 21, where, speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, the Scripture says, "For as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years," and on the basis of these two passages Mr. Rutherford makes the astonishing declaration that the Scriptures show that there were to be "seventy jubilees kept".
He overlooks the fact that these seventy years were literal years, and have nothing whatever to do with the jubilee system. He must find some way of arriving at 1925, and therefore, without quoting these passages, merely citing them in his text as authority that there would be seventy jubilees kept, he goes on to say that "seventy jubilees of fifty years each would be a total of 3,500 years. That period of time beginning 1575 before A.D. 1 of necessity would end in the autumn of the year 1925, at which time the type ends and the great antitype must begin."
THE CHRIST OF THE BIBLE AND THE CHRIST OF RUSSELLISM ARE DIFFERENT
Russellism also takes away the Christ of the Bible and substitutes a human saviour in His place. The sacrifice made on Calvary for the sins of the world, according to Russellism, was solely and altogether a human sacrifice. The atonement of Russellism is altogether a human atonement, an atonement made by a man. It is plain, therefore, that the Christ of the Bible and the Christ of Russellism are wholly and completely different.
This teaching that Christ was human and that only through humanity He made the sacrifice for the sins of the world, is found in the first volume of "Studies in the Scriptures," in the section beginning on page 173. After reading this section, it becomes plain that:
-- Russellism's saviour is not the divine Son of God, but a human saviour;
-- Russellism's atonement is not the atonement of the Scriptures;
-- Russellism's sacrifice for sin is only a human sacrifice, altogether inadequate to make the atonement;
-- that Russellism's advocate with the Father is not "the man Christ Jesus";
-- that Russellism's mediator between God and man is not the Mediator of the Bible, Who is both God and man.
Russellism asks us to accept assertions without facts; arguments without proof; and crude speculations, unsustained by historical or Biblical testimony. It expects us to leave our anchorage, slip our cables, and go drifting out upon a vast uncharted sea of wild hypothesis, misty theorizing, and grotesque assertion, to float there, rudderless, and without chart or compass, until we are lost in regions of fog and darkness, of scepticism and unbelief. This we refuse to do. The Bible provides for us a basis for our faith and our hope, which we will not yield for any such unsatisfactory system. The Bible and the Bible only is our creed, and when any system or teaching conflicts with God's Word, it can be summarily dismissed as error.
EDITOR: In 1991, the WatchTower Society finally published its own version of a harmonized gospel and biography of "jesus", which they entitled, THE GREATEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED. Non-Christians likely did not flinch, but Christians were shocked, and offended, by that title. It makes no difference what the WatchTower Cult may occasionally get right, because Jehovah's Witnesses always have gotten mankind's LORD and SAVIOR, Jesus Christ, WRONG!!!
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
October 20, 1931
How it makes a substitute for the Bible,
and also denies the combination of the human and the divine in Jesus Christ (edited)
The sacrifice of Christ upon Calvary was an astonishment to all intelligent beings in the universe;
it was God dying for men.
Another system of error that has appealed to some restless spirits who are not satisfied with the old truths of the Bible is Russellism. This is sometimes called Millennial Dawnism, although its accepted name is the pretentious one of the "International Bible Students Association". It was fathered by Charles Taze Russell, now dead, and he was succeeded as head of the movement by "Judge" J. F. Rutherford. Russellism offers very little constructive teaching, and apparently seeks to cover this up by making loud assertions regarding all teaching contrary to its theories. It was Charles T. Russell who,
-- as if announcing a stupendous truth discovered by himself after laborious research, calmly pronounced all Bible translations unreliable ("What Say the Scriptures About Hell?" page 11);
-- put forth the claim to be the first one to understand the book of Revelation (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol 1, p. 27, 1912 edition);
-- declared that our Lord meant Charles T. Russell when He spoke of "that faithful and wise servant whom his lord hath set over his household to give them food in due season" (The Watch Tower, Sept. 15, 1909);
-- and asserted that anyone who discards his six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures and depends on the Bible alone for light will go into darkness.
RUSSELL'S BOOKS SUBSTITUTE FOR THE BIBLE
As has been stated, Russellites call themselves Bible Students. But they have substituted the writings of C. T. Russell for the Bible. These writings deny the fundamental Bible truths. Russellites are "students" indeed, but not of the Bible. They are students of the writings of Charles Taze Russell. Nothing more is needed to prove this than the following quotation from Russellism's official magazine, The Watch Tower. In its issue of September 15, 1910, are these words:
"If the six volumes of 'Scripture Studies' are practically the Bible, topically arranged, with Bible proof text given, we might not improperly name the volumes 'The Bible in an Arranged Form.' That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself. ... Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see also that if any one lays the 'Scripture Studies' aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years -- if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the 'Scripture Studies' with their references and had not read a page of the Bible as such he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures."
Here is the claim that Charles Taze Russell's writings are "the Bible itself"; "not merely comments on the Bible," but "the Bible itself." Notice the Bible-dishonoring statement that "people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible itself," and that to confine oneself to the Bible alone means to go "into the darkness," but that to take the word of this one man, Charles T. Russell, and never read a page in all the Scriptures, means to "be in the light." Nothing more than this is needed to prove that Russellism substitutes the teaching of Charles T. Russell for the teaching of the Bible, and that these two are opposite the one to the other, and that the whole system of Russellism is a deplorable perversion of truth, entirely anti-scriptural and anti-christian.
A HUMAN SAVIOR, A HUMAN SACRIFICE, A HUMAN ATONEMENT
Fundamental among the errors of Russellism is the teaching which takes away the Jesus Christ of the Bible and substitutes a human savior in His place. The savior of the Russellite is a human savior -- altogether human. The sacrifice made on Calvary for the sins of the world, according to Russellism, was solely and altogether a human sacrifice. The atonement of Russellism is only a human atonement, made by man. Hence the Jesus Christ of the Bible and the Jesus Christ of Russellism are wholly and completely different.
This teaching of Russellism which undermines and denies the deity of Jesus Christ occurs in the first volume of "Studies in the Scriptures," the title of which is "The Plan of the Ages," in the chapter on "Spiritual and Human Natures Separate and Distinct," beginning at page 173. Here we are informed that before Christ came to this earth to become a ransom for men, He was "a spirit being", Michael the Archangel, having a spiritual nature, but he was not in the highest sense "a divine being". His spiritual nature was changed, when He was brought into the world, into a perfect "human nature" (page 178) ; not, let it be understood, into a union of the "spiritual" and "human" natures, but solely and altogether a "human" nature.
It was not, according to Russellism, until after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ that He exchanged the "human" nature for the "divine" nature. Jesus Christ was not of both natures at the same time, but TWICE experienced an entire change of nature -- first, from the "spiritual" to the "human" at his "birth", and then second, from the "'human" to the "divine", at his resurrection. Jesus was altogether "spiritual", as the Archangel Michael, before coming to earth. Jesus was altogether "human" while on the earth, and not at any time a union of the "spiritual" with the "human," nor a union of the "divine" and the "human" at His resurrection. According to Russellism, Jesus is now "divine," with no remnants of the "human" clinging to Him.
It is clear from this that when Christ died on the cross for the sins of mankind He was not, according to the false system of Russellism, a divine being in any sense, but was only a man sacrificing his human nature for other men. Let it not be thought that this is a twisting of C. T. Russell's words into a meaning which Russell never intended should be taken from his statements. Russell himself emphasizes again and again this point, that when Christ died He was only a man. True, Charles Taze Russell did claim that Jesus was a perfect man, but nothing more than a "man". Charles T. Russell denied emphatically that Jesus was a union of two natures, human and spiritual when he was born, nor human and divine when he was resurrected.
Perhaps it will be best to let Russellism speak for itself on this point, which is of the most vital nature. Here are the words:
"Neither was Jesus a combination of the two natures, human and spiritual. The blending of two natures produces neither the one nor the other, but an imperfect, hybrid thing, which is obnoxious to the divine arrangement. When Jesus was in the flesh He was a perfect human being; previous to that time he was a perfect spiritual being; and since his resurrection he is a perfect spiritual being of the highest or divine order." -- Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 1, page 179.
JESUS CHRIST MERELY WAS A PERFECT MAN
Let it be made very clear, too, that the teaching -- that it was only human nature which was sacrificed for men -- is not merely a deduction drawn from an unfortunately or ambiguously worded sentence dishonestly taken from Russell's writings, but the real meaning and the essential teaching of this false religious system. The following statements will settle that:
"In becoming man's ransom, our Lord Jesus gave the equivalent for that which man lost; and therefore all mankind may receive again, through faith in Christ, and obedience to his requirements, not a spiritual, but a glorious, perfect human nature -- 'that which was lost.'" -- Id., page 180.
"Jesus presented his perfect humanity a sacrifice." -- Id., page 199.
"Jesus, at the age of thirty years, was a perfect, mature man. ... It was necessary that a perfect man should die for mankind, because the claims of justice could be met in no other way." -- Id., page 229.
"We must bear in mind, also, that our Lord is no longer a human being; that as a human being he gave himself a ransom for men." -- Id., Vol. 2, page 107.
"It was his flesh, his life as a man, his humanity, that was sacrificed for our redemption. And when he was raised to life again by the power of the Father, it was not to human existence; because that was sacrificed as our purchase price." -- Id., page 129.
There is no mistake here.
-- Russellism's "christ" is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
-- Russellism's "savior" is not the Divine Son of God, but a human savior altogether.
-- Russellism's "atonement" is not the atonement of the Scriptures.
-- Russellism's "sacrifice" for sin is only a human sacrifice, altogether inadequate to make the atonement.
-- Russellism's "advocate" with the Father is no longer "the greatest man", but One whose humanity was totally sacrificed at his death;
-- Russellism's "mediator" between God and man is not the Mediator of the Bible who was both God and man.
The Pensacola Journal
March 26, 1913
Letter To The Editor
CONSCIOUSNESS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GRAVE (edited)
Mortal-soulists, with their Millennial Dawnism and other soul-sleeping "isms", seem to be busy in Pensacola of late making speeches and leaving on our doorsteps printed statements, such as materialists have made all along through the ages. What seems to me to be the final analysis of some of these statements are as follows. (I give them here. I hope I am mistaken, you may draw your own conclusions).
1. It seems to me that they -- Millennial Dawnists -- teach that the only difference between a man and a bullfrog, while in the flesh, is that a man has more brains, but they both have the same kind of a soul. And, when a man dies, he is in the same state as the bullfrog.
2. They - man and bullfrog -- have gone to the same place -- to nowhere; to where they know not anything about anything. But, at the resurrection, God will re-make man over, for God hasn't forgotten him.
Here is what they say in the WatchTower of Jan. 15, 1910, "The scriptures agree from first to last that 'the dead know not anything.' It is the Scriptures that tell us where the dead are, and their conditions; that they are experiencing neither joy nor sorrow, pleasure, nor suffering, etc."
According to this, when the body dies, the soul dies. They are one and the same in this respect. If a man can kill the body -- he can and does kill the soul also. So, when a man dies, he is like the little boy's pig -- he "ceases to be," not only on earth, but knows nothing as to any other realm of existence. That is, soul and body in death become nothing.
They -- Millennial Dawnists -- say this is a comforting doctrine. This, I admit, must be comforting with some people, and would also be a comfort to some on the other side, if true.
In conclusion, what sayeth the Scriptures? They quote Ecc. 9:5: "For the Iiving know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything," etc. Take this as they do -- without any qualification, then the dead never will know anything. But, this proves too much for them, so they run to other Scriptures. So will we, for that is the way to do it -- get all the testimony, and then render your verdict.
Evidently, the meaning of this Scripture is, "The dead know not anything," as to what is going on in this world after they leave it, "neither have they any more a reward," as to this world. When a man dies, he is done with the affairs of this world, hence he knows no more about the affairs of this world.
See Job. 14:21: "His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not, and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them."
See Isaiah 63:16: "Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us."
Happily we have a like expression, "Know not anything," in the Scriptures concerning certain men. Sam. 15:11: "And with Abraham went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called, and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not anything."
It could hardly be supposed that this, if the boy had gone to unconscious men with him to fight for him and yet it is said, "They knew not anything."
2 Sam. 12:23: David said, concerning his little son who died, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." There could be but little comfort in this, if the boy had gone to unconscious nothingness. And, as to David having in mind the resurrection, when he would do this, is not logical, for then the child could go to David as easy as David could go to the child.
Cor. 12:1-4: Paul tells of one caught up to the third heaven and heard something. He said he did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body when he heard these things. But if it is true that there is no such a thing as being out of the body, and yet be conscious, then Paul was in the body when he heard these things. Paul must have believed it possible to be out of the body and yet conscious, else he would not have said this. So, Bible Students, if you do not agree with Paul, well ... .
RUSSELL AND RUSSELLISM
Martin A. Hopkins
The movement of which C. T. Russell is founder and leader is hydra-headed. It is well to know the names of its various heads, so as to recognize at once that they belong to the same body and are under the same control. These names are as follows: "Millennial Dawn", a name which has long ago been dropped by Russell because it became rather unpopular; "Watch Tower and Tract Society"; "People's Pulpit [Association]"; "Brooklyn Tabernacle"; "London Tabernacle"; and "Washington Temple". But the name that is now most popular and the one by which the followers of Russell like to be called is the "International Bible Students' [Association]". But it matters not what the name is, Russell is behind it all, and so we think it not unfitting to call it "Russellism".
Besides a great number of tracts and periodicals, there are six volumes which embody the teachings of Russell. These are called "Studies in the Scriptures". Series I., "The Plan of the Ages", is a sort of general conspectus of his whole teaching. Series II., "The Time is at Hand", deals largely with chronology and eschatology. Series III., "Thy Kingdom Come", is taken up with the coming of the Kingdom and the events connected therewith. It closes with a description of the Great Pyramid which Russell thinks corroborates his teachings. Series IV., "The Battle of Armageddon", is an arraignment of modern Christendom, to which Russell gives the title "Babylon". Series V. presents Russell's teaching about the atonement and the Holy Spirit and concludes with a treatise on the Tabernacle. Series VI., "The New Creation", is a book of ethics for the guidance of the daily life. These volumes comprise in all over three thousand pages, and are the text-books of Russell's followers. The importance attached to these books may be seen from the following quotations:
"If the six volumes of 'Scripture Studies' are practically the Bible, topically arranged, with Bible proof texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes 'The Bible in an Arranged Form'. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself. ... Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see also that if anyone lays the 'Scripture Studies' aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years -- if he lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the 'Scripture Studies' and had not read a page of the Bible as such, he would be in the light at the eud of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures."
Do we realize the impious arrogance of this claim: To study the Bible alone will lead one into darkness, and to study the teachings of Russell alone will lead into the light! Such a claim as this naturally leads us to ask who is this Russell? When a man places himself before the eyes of the world as a religious teacher, it is but right that we ask him to show his credentials. "Who are you?" And especially is this so in the case of one, who with amazing self-confidence and calmness, assumes the dogmatic position that he is right, and all others are wrong, as does Pastor Russell. ...
He started his career as a Pittsburg Presbyterian in his father's haberdashery store, where he proved to be "a good business man, but rather sharp". As a young man he read some old discarded heresies, and this laid the foundations for his teachings. He began his work as a religious teacher in Alleghany. But his work was soon cut short in this place by divorce proceedings instituted against him by his wife. But more than this was brought out in the libel suit -- more fully described below. The divorce proceedings were uncovered, and it was found that immoral conduct was the ground. In the vestibule of his home he addressed a girl who had a position in his office as "his little wife", and then said to her, "I am like a jelly fish. I float around here and there. I touch this one and that one, and if she responds, I take her to me, and if not, I float on to others."
Light has been recently thrown upon his character by the libel suit instituted by Russell against Rev. J. J. Ross, of Hamilton, Ontario. In this suit we get a glimpse of his character. He poses as a theologian, Greek and Hebrew scholar, and an ordained minister. Under the examination, he admitted that he had attended school only seven years of his life, that the public school, and that he had left school when he was about fourteen years of age. He swore on oath that he was an ordained minister of the gospel, and was later forced to admit that he was not.
After having taken an oath to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, he stated that he was acquainted with Hebrew and Greek. He swore that he knew Greek, but when handed a copy of the Greek Testament he could not read the letters of the alphabet! Being cornered he admitted that he knew nothing of Latin, Greek, nor Hebrew, and never had had any training in philosophy or systematic theology. As for his Greek and Hebrew he has learned a few words with which he makes the impression upon his audience that he is a scholar. Some of his favorites are "Nephesh-hayyai", "Apocalypsis", "Epiphancia", "Apokatastasis", and "Parakletos". Such is the learning and veracity of the man who denies all the creeds of the Church and calls Christendom, "Babylon".
Russell is also a promoter of business concerns that have their existence only on paper. He is a shrewd promoter of bogus stock companies. Another of his business enterprises was selling "miracle wheat" to his duped followers at $60 per bushel.
This man, who is neither truthful, nor moral, nor honest, claims to be "that servant" of Matthew 24:46, whose special function it is "to give meat in due season" to "the little flock". This is the man who arraigns modern Christendom as "Babylon" and calls the Church apostate. This is the man who claims to be the only infallible teacher of God's word. This is the man whose teachings are so indispensable that without them men go into darkness though they have the Bible.
From Russell himself, let us turn to some of his teachings. His teachings are a heterogeneous conglomeration of nearly all the heresies of all the ages -- Gnosticism, Arianism, Restorationism, Unitarianism, and Universalism. A large element in his teaching is eschatology. The key to his whole system is found in his doctrine of man's nature and the meaning of death. Hence we consider this doctrine first.
RUSSELL'S DOCTRINE OF MAN.
Russell's teaching about the nature of man is one of fundamental importance to an understanding of his whole system. For his whole system of doctrine is built on his doctrine of man's nature. He teaches a bald materialism. Man is an animal. He is not possessed of a spirit which survives the death of the body. All thought, feeling, and volition are the products of brain activity. Consequently death is the cessation of being. (Vol. V., p. 341)
"Death ... is a period of absolute unconsciousness -- more than that, it is a period of absolute non-existence." This cessation of existence is the penalty that man suffers on account of sin. The penalty for sin is eternal cessation of being. This penalty came through Adam's sin. What the atonement does is to change the penalty from everlasting cessation of being to a temporary suspension of being.
In the resurrection all are raised up and given a new chance to win eternal life. But in this second chance each man will act as an individual and not in federal connection with anyone. Their present experience with sin will make it sure that almost all will succeed in this second probation. Those that fail in this second chance suffer the second death, which is everlasting extinction of being.
RUSSELL ON THE TRINITY.
Russell is not a Trinitarian, but rather teaches a somewhat modified Arianism. His lack of theological knowledge is shown by the following quotation (Vol. V., p. 59): "The doctrine of the Trinity holds that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 'are one in person, equal in glory and in power'."
The use of the word "person" is not a typographical error, for throughout the chapter he continues to make the same mistake. He now proceeds to prove his doctrine. Here is his translation of Phil. 2:6: "Who, though being in God's form, yet did not meditate a usurpation to be like God, but divested himself, taking a bondman's form."
Here is his translation of John 1:1: "The Logos was in the beginning with the God and the Logos was a God." Jesus Christ is "a" God, but not "the" God. His knowledge of Greek here shows off to splendid advantage! The omission of the article lays emphasis on the quality. The indefinite article does not occur in the original. The deity of the Word is stressed by the omission of the article and the inversion of subject and predicate.
His Arianism comes out in the following words (Vol. V., p. 88): "The thought conveyed by this expression is that the Logos was himself the only direct creation or begetting of the heavenly Father, while all others of God's sons, were indirect creation through the Logos."
But his Arianism ceases with his view of Christ. He denies the personality of the Holy Spirit, which, in his view, is only an influence or power flowing from God (see Vol. W., p. 270).
RUSSELL ON THE ATONEMENT.
Russell teaches a doctrine of substitution. The sinner's substitute must himself be man -- not God and man. Christ, when pre-existent, was a spirit being. In the incarnation he ceased to be a spirit being and became a mere man (Vol. I., p. 179). "Neither was Jesus a combination of two natures, human and divine. The blending of two natures produces neither the one nor the other, but an imperfect, hydrid thing which is obnoxious to the divine arrangement. When Jesus was in the flesh he was a perfect human being; previous to that time he was a perfect spiritual being; and since his resurrection he is a perfect spiritual being of the highest or divine order."
The penalty for sin was everlasting cessation of being. The sinner's Substitute paid the penalty. Jesus suffered everlasting cessation of being (Vol. V., p. 454). "It was necessary, not only that the man Christ Jesus should die, but just as necessary that the man Christ Jesus should never live again, should remain dead, should remain our ransom-price to all eternity."
On the cross Jesus Christ suffered everlasting annihilation. When he was raised from the dead he was a spiritual being. This would be ridiculous if it were not so blasphemous. How is it possible for a being to cease to be -- a being with one nature -- and at the same time become another being and surely this is the height of folly and puerility.
Closely connected with this is his doctrine of the resurrection. In the resurrection Christ changed natures and was exalted to the highest or divine nature. There was no bodily resurrection. (Vol. II., pp. 125-130) "Our Lord's body was, however, supernaturally removed from the tomb; because had it remained there it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples. ... We know nothing about what became of it except that it did not decay or corrupt. ... Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as a grand memorial of God's love, of Christ's obedience, and of our redemption, no one knows; nor is such knowledge necessary."
RUSSELL ON CHRIST'S SECOND ADVENT.
This startling information prepares us for his teaching about Christ's coming. This occurred in 1874, but nobody sees him because he is a spiritual being. The saints were also raised a few years later, and are now in the world, but they too are spiritual beings. Thus Russell deserves the name of antichrist, according 2 John 7.
Speaking of dates leads us to mention the fact that Russell fixes the consummation of the age in 1914, in spite of the fact that Christ said that of that day and hour knoweth no man.
It may prove of interest to some to see how Russell calculates time. I present the following as a good example, taken from Vol. II., Study IV. He uses two texts in this calculation. "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentile be fulfilled," Luke 21:24, and Lev. 26:17, "If ye will not for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins." The "seven times" is synonymous with "the times of the Gentiles". A "time" is used in the sense of a year of three hundred and sixty days. Each day is symbolic of a year. So a "time" is 360 years, and "seven times" represent 2,520 years. From history Russell fixes the beginning of the "seven times" as 606 B. C. By subtracting 606 from 2,520 he arrives at 1914 as the date for the end of this age. Could anything be more simple than that! This is some of the "meat in due season" which "that servant" is producing for the "little flock".
RUSSELL ON ELECTION.
We shall now consider a part of Russell's teaching which is of special interest to Presbyterians -- his teaching about election. According to Russell's teachings, there are four classes of real Christians in the Church. Those who are merely justified form the lowest class. Next are those who have some spiritual discernment. Then come those who have undertaken the higher life, but have fallen short of complete attainment.
The highest class includes those who have undertaken a life of consecration and through self-sacrifice and crucifixion of the flesh have attained it. These last are the spiritual elite. They seem to be Russell and his followers in the main. Russell calls these elite "the little flock" and the "Bride of Christ". These, like their Lord, are changed from the human nature to the divine nature. They become gods. They alone possess immortal life as Russell defines it. Immortal life, according to Russell, is like the life of God himself. It is absolute life. The elite alone of believers possess immortal life.
Other Christians, and in fact all, except a few incorrigible who suffer the second death, obtain only eternal life. Eternal life, according to Russell, is a perfect earthly life which never ceases, but is sustained by eating food. It is the life that Adam had before the fall. Adam was on probation to test his worthiness to continue in the enjoyment of an earthly life sustained by eating food.
Russell's spiritual elite are Calvin's elect. Thus election is explained and robbed of its so-called objectionable features. It is an election to privilege and not to life. In this connection, I present a ridiculous passage from Vol. TV, p. 608: "I tell you that in that night there shall be two in one bed; the one shall be taken and the other shall be left." The Lord, through the prophet, informs us that though the millennial morning draws near, a night also approaches. (Isa. 21:12.) It will be a night of trouble in the forepart of which the saints will be gathered out of Babylon. The "bed" here, in harmony with Isaiah's use of that word (Isa. 28:20), may be interpreted to symbolize human creeds which are long enough for "babes" in Christ, but too short for a developed "man" to stretch himself in it. This is true of the various "doctrines of men", substituted for but very different from the doctrines of God's word whose lengths and breadths surpass human knowledge. For instance, the doctrine of election, as taught by our Calvinist friends, is a quite sufficient "bed" to rest many who are only "babes" in Christ, whose senses have never been exercised; but as in the light of present day knowledge the babes get awake and grow in grace and knowledge, they will all surely find the old creed-bed too short for comfort; and as each attempts to wrap himself in the promises of God narrowed by an erroneous theology, he cannot satisfactorily cover himself: doubts creep in to chill him with fear that after all he is not certain that he and all his friends are of the "elect"; and by and by such developed Christians find it a relief to get out of such a predicament; and to such God generally sends the light of present truth to guide them to a "large place" of true rest supplied with abundant coverings for all who seek to know and do the Father's will. Others, however, the vast majority remain quite satisfied in their various little cribs, because they are "babes" and not "men" in Christian knowledge and experience. "One shall be taken and the other left."
Mind you, this is written in a serious style. I quote another of his perversions of Holy Scripture from Vol. I., p. 147: "In John 5:28, 29, a precious promise for the world of a coming judgment trial for life everlasting is, by a mistranslation, turned into a fearful imprecation. According to the Greek, they that have done evil -- that have failed of divine approval -- will come forth unto resurrection [raising up to perfection] by "judgments, stripes, disciplines". This he uses as a proof-text for his doctrine of a universal probation during the millennium.
Those who have gone thus far with me in the examination of Russell and his doctrines, may question whether the subject is one that deserves serious consideration. The fact that one hundred thousand people are deluded by him, and that he is flooding the country with his literature is the answer that I give. Russellism must be faced.
It becomes more serious when one considers that the majority of his followers are earnest Christian people of our churches. Russell is not trying to gather in the unsaved. He makes his appeal to the Christian people, who are yearning for a deeper knowledge of God's word, and alas! think they have found it in Russellism.
This fact leads me in closing to say that Russellism has a lesson for the Church. Almost every heresy has some truth in it, that gives it its power. Here is the power of Russellism. It claims to unfold prophecy and to tell men of the future. There is in every heart a desire to know more about the future. The Church of today is neglecting to preach and teach its people about this theme of all-absorbing interest. Consequently they are left defenceless and fall an easy prey to anyone who claims to speak authoritatively on these themes. No doubt this condition is due to the prevailing system of eschatology that necessarily tends to discourage the study of prophecy and to the pragmatism that sees that godliness has promise of the life that now is, but refuses to see that godliness also has promise of the life that is to come. "We are saved in hope." Russellism is the call of God to the Church to teach prophecy and to uphold before the eyes of the people the glorious future, more than it has done in the past. I believe that the only antidote for Russellism is a sane Premillennialism.
AN OPEN LETTER TO PASTOR CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL (edited)
Dr. Horace A. Randle (1912)
(See PROCLAIMERS p418.)
My Dear Sir and Brother,
Many of the earlier readers of your publications -- and I among them -- who found delight in the contemplation of the "Divine Plan of the Ages," as originally set forth by you, have been deeply grieved to see the present trend of the Watch Tower movement. Not only have some important changes been made in the general interpretation of God's Word, which are distinctly contrary to your earlier teachings, but the spirit of the whole movement has markedly changed.
Perhaps no one in all the earth was a more zealous champion than yourself for the full perfect work and merit of Jesus Christ, as the ransom-price paid for the whole human race; yet now you claim, and you teach, an insufficiency in that perfect ransom, which must be made up by the Church of God -- the body of Christ. If you insist that the goat of Lev. 16:15 is a type of the Church of the Firstborn (the name of the WatchTower Society's so-called "nameless" churches) you are thereby teaching that the Church is a sinbearer, and therefore part of the ransom. This is contrary to your own oft-repeated emphasis of the value of the word "Antilutron", the ransom-price given by the man Christ Jesus, -- who was made a perfect human being like Adam, in order to be a "corresponding price," or an exact equivalent to the first man, through whom the race was lost. Jesus Christ, plus the Church of the Firstborn, make very much more than "a corresponding price," which Justice could not accept, any more than an insufficient price -- the word "Anti-lutron" clearly implying equivalence.
Again, you once plainly taught that Jesus is now, at this present time, the Mediator between us and the Father, seeing that He ever liveth to make intercession for them that draw near unto God through Him (Heb. 7:25).
Will you insist that that intercession is not mediation? While it is true that the New Covenant which God will make with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah is future, noone knows better than you that that is not the whole of the New Covenant, but only a part of it. Seeing that the covenants are bound up with the sacrifices, the New Covenant must have come in with the new sacrifice -- when the Lamb of God was slain, and will continue till all the willing and obedient of all nations have the laws of God and His righteousness written on their hearts and upon their minds.
The New Covenant comes in before the old one vanishes away -- indeed, its recognition by God makes the first one old, which therefore waxeth aged, and is nigh unto vanishing away (Heb. 8:13). The whole tabernacle service, inseparably associated with the first covenant, was a parable for the time now present, in which the ordinances and sacrifices of the past, in connection with the first (or old) covenant, are displaced by the perfect offering of the man Christ Jesus, the merit of which is not limited to Israel, as were the sacrifices of bulls and goats, but covers the whole human race -- Israel, Gentiles, heathen, all; past, present, and future.
That the New Covenant came in with the new sacrifice is clear from the words of our Savior, who said, "This is my blood of the covenant which is shed for many unto the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28), "even the New Covenant which came to displace the first" (Heb. 8:13). "Now hath he obtained a ministry the more excellent, by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises" (Heb. 8:6).
The writer to the Hebrews furthermore addressed them thus: -- The blood of Christ ... shall purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God; FOR THIS CAUSE, He is the Mediator of a New Covenant. To help those Hebrews then living to serve the living God, makes it certain Jesus Christ was Mediator at that time, and the New Covenant must have been in force. A Covenant is of force where there hath been the death of Him that made it (Heb. 9:14, 15, 17). Paul also declares that God had made him and others able ministers of a New Covenant (II Cor. 3:6), which must mean that the New Covenant was already enacted and operative in the days of the Apostles. Able ministers of a covenant not yet in existence is both illogical and inadmissible.
If there be no New Covenant in operation now, then there is no covenant, at all, for the old has passed away, and cannot be in existence without its sacrifices, and its ordinances, which do not exist. And if there be no covenant now in operation, whence come the children of the free woman? (Gal. 4:31)
When I first knew the "Zion's Watch Tower" and the Millennial Dawn movement -- in the nineties -- the "Servant" was unseen, and the Savior, our perfect ransom, was revealed; now the man is occulting his Master. OH! THE GRIEF OF IT TO MANY OF US. The Watch Tower of January 1, 1912, cries out against you. In the subject matter of that issue -- ignoring the advertisement page -- we find the name of Pastor Russell 164 times, and the name of his Master -- Jesus Christ -- only seven times! Is not that almost a total eclipse? But you must be ashamed of it, or if not, why do you glory so much in Charles Taze Russell? Cannot you suppress him, and glory in Jesus Christ alone?
"He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (I Cor. 1: 31). "God forbid that you should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6:14). If you are indeed the forerunner of our Savior's second advent and manifestation, will you not learn from John the Baptist how to decrease by effacing yourself, and show forth the increase of the Savior's beauty and grace, that men may scarce find the messenger yet heed the message?
Is it not a distress to you to see that your followers cling more and more to the man, until many of them have reached the conclusion that there is no God-sent minister in the world but you?
I beseech you -- in the name of Jesus -- and in the love of God -- to cease from your hard quest for dollars, fame, and power, which things must surely soon pass away; and covet earnestly to be made as a little child -- fit for the kingdom (Luke 18:17); that Brother Russell himself may disappear, and that Christ in you, the hope of glory, may be more and more manifest as the few remaining days go by.
If any of my words wound you, they are the wounds of a friend (Prov. 27:6) ; and I give you the assurance of my very sincere love, and sterling goodwill. Yours heartily, yet in mingled love and grief, Horace A. Randle. 18, Maid on Road, Acton, London, W.
Sequachee Valley News
July 15, 1909
Letter To The Editor
GEHENNA AND SECOND DEATH
Editor News: In defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and by the request of others, I feel it my indispensable duty to write a few lines on the article in last week's issue of the Sequachee News, entitled "Eternal Torment". If the false doctrine the gentleman contends for was an error of small magnitude -- had it affected the minor points only of our holy religion -- charity would enjoin forbearance and christian fellowship. I would pay no attention to it, but take this modern doctrine to be another Gospel, and when considered as a system, to be totally unevangelical.
I notice that the gentleman is very kind in advising earnest seekers after the true meaning of certain words in the original, namely sheol, hades, hell, where this information may be had. I am very proud, indeed, to say that there are still some of us left, who adhere to the truth, who do not need any assistance whatsoever from "The People's Pulpit", but are able to read the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek for ourselves.
It is characteristic of a narrow-minded pigmy to cite people to some other sources for the desired information.
I will now endeavor to discuss the Bible idea of future punishment, and give the meaning of these Greek and Hebrew words, according to Grove's, Grave's, Heducus', Herman's, Thayer's, and Liddell & Scott's dictionaries.
"Hades", is a Greek word meaning the unseen world; the veiled world; the place of disembodied spirits. Hades received the souls of men. Tartarus is one of the departments of this unseen world. Sheol is a Hebrew word, and its meaning is just the same and as full as the Greek word hades. Sheol meant to the Hebrew just what hades did to the Greek. Hell sometimes means the same as those other two words. Sometimes it is mistranslated and employed where the word, "gehenna", should be employed. The words themselves are of little consequence. The fact exists, it is a world unseen, but real. It would have existed and filled its office if the name had been different, or if no name had ever been given to it. The Mississippi river poured its waters along the same channel for ages before the word, Mississippi, was known, and it would have continued as deep and wide if no name had been applied to it. In the course of human events, it so happened that the word "hades" was used among men as the name of the unknown regions, inhabited by departed souls, and the Saviour adopted it as suitable to his purpose, because it would be understood, and in using it he sanctioned the general idea of a world of spirits.
The same remark is true of "Gehenna". The name is a mere incident. The eternal state or the wicked is a fact, a necessity. Its terribleness grows out of the nature of sin, and the relation of sin to the divine government.
This word more nearly than any other one in the scriptures, corresponds in meaning with the ideas commonly attached to the English "hell" so far as the finality of punishment is concerned, and cannot, by any possibility of fair criticism, be forced to give expression to the idea of a place of temporary affliction or reformatory torment. It points to the extreme punishment of the enemies of Christ, to the last abode of the lost. None have yet been cast into Gehenna, and we hazard nothing in assuming that the place itself has not been created. It amounts to nothing against the argument in hand that its locality in the universe is unknown and that ages up on ages will yet pass before "the pit be digged for the wicked." Not even the devil has yet reached this abode The fallen angels are not in Gehenna, but in Tartarus. Tbey are not yet punished, but are reserved under chains of darkness to be punished at the day of judgement, and so it is with the wicked dead. They are in custody under arrest, awaiting the revelation of the judicial decision that consigns them to the final doom. But the "chains of darkness" under which the fallen angels are held are not material chains. We need not suppose that they impede locomotion or bind those on whom they rest as to locality. The devil with his mysterious host goes to and fro on the earth. This is now his sphere, but after the judgement, when cast into the "lake of fire", his access to earth will cease, and he will tempt us no more. Now, he is in the invisible world, in hades, wherein is darkness, and this prison is Tartarus, but it is not Gehenna. When the Saviour used this word, He looked beyond Tartarus and beyond Hades: He looked beyond the disembodied state; beyond the resurrection and the judgement; and pointed to the last calamity of the wicked.
Hence, Gehenna is different from Tartarus and Hades in this: It receives none until after the judgement, and then it never delivers them up. Gehenna is beyond death. Gehenna, as used by our Lord, represents the same state and doom of the wicked that is symbolized in the Apocalypse by the "lake of fire" and the "second death." This does not mean that Gehenna is an emblem of the lake of fire. Both are symbols. At least Gehenna is used metaphorically; the name of a literal valley on earth; passing over to a state or place of punishment in the future, of which identical punishment the lake of fire is a symbol. Each pictures to the mind the same outcome of the life of sin; the ultimate and inevitable perdition of ungodly men.
This proposition will not be seriously questioned by Universalists, no-Hellites, or liberalists of any school. Their opposition is to the application of the symbols. The necessity of their case obliges them to seek an application of these symbols to something this side of the eternal state, and their ingenuity has been taxed to the point of desperation in pursuit of something that will answer the purpose.
In the Scriptures, we find the same punishment indicated by the following terms and phrases : "Gehenna", "Gehenna fire", "everlasting fire", "the fire that shall never be quenched", and to these is added the significant allusion to the "Valley of Hinnom", the emblem of all that is horrible, "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is never quenched". Then passing to the period when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, and all nations shall be gathered before Him, and He shall divide them as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats, and pronounce the final sentence against the wicked, we have the sentence in these words, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." -- Matt 25:41.
Now, there can be no doubt that this everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels is the same, and means the same thing, as the "everlasting fire" and the "Gehenna fire" in the passages above. This being settled, as settled it is in all unbiased minds, then the next point is that this fire prepared for the devil and his angels is the same in meaning as the lake of fire in the book of Revelation. That this is true is evident from the following, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and forever." -- Rev. 26:10.
We are not now discussing the nature or significance of these symbols, nor their locality, but simply their relation to each other, and the identity of their import. It is a question of fact, to be determined by the nature of the case, by the similarity of expression and use, and by the unreasonableness of the supposition, that such striking symbols so nearly alike, and relating to the same classes, and having the same uses, should not have the same final application and meaning. The devil is cast into the lake of fire. Can there be any doubt that this is fire -- the everlasting fire prepared for him? The beast and the false prophet are there, and all that may be designated as his angels will have their part in that lake. Then how can it be otherwise than that this is the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels? It seems preposterous and even impossible to doubt the fact here insisted upon. And yet, if it be true, it brings the subject of Gehenna into such a light that its relation to the period beyond death and beyond both the resurrection and the judgement, can no more be questioned.
Gehenna, as we have seen, is not Hades, is not in Hades, is no part of Hades, and comes into the scenes of human destiny only as Hades goes out. Death and Hades deliver up their dead before the judgement and after the judgement they are cast into the "lake of fire", which is Gehenna. This point will bear repeating. On this fact hangs much of the great debate concerning human destiny. To be cast into the lake of fire is the last calamity. It is the second death. And is not the second death subsequent to the resurrection, and therefore in the future state?
The following Scriptures will determine, "And the sea gives up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works, and death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." -- Rev. 20, 13-15.
1. The great white throne appears; the emblem of judgement
2. Heaven and earth flee away: The visible creation passes out of sight.
3. The dead -- small and great arise. All the receptacles of the dead, whether of body or soul, whether earth and sea, or Hades, the invisible world of spirits, deliver up their dead.
4. The judgement proceeds. The books -- the records of Divine Providence and human life -- are opened, and every man's real character is declared.
5. The ungodly are condemned formally, judiciously -- as they have been morally, and sentenced, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels. The sentence is executed. Death and Hades and whosoever was not found written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire. "This is the second death." If there is delivering up of the dead here mentioned, which it certainly is, there is no escape from the conclusion that Gehenna, the lake of fire and the second death, are all beyond the resurrection.
In the next chapter to this, we find the "lake of fire" recognized in the immortal state, or in immediate connection with the new creation, when mortality and death are past. As the 20th chapter closes up the history of this world, and notes the passing away of the visible creation, with the righteous saved, the wicked damned, and God's eternal government approved, so the 21st chapter opens a new scene where the former things are done away -- a scene that lies beyond the limits of time.
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea, And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 'Behold , the tabernacle of God is with men', and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, 'Behold I make all thiings new'. And He said unto me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful'. And He said unto me, 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'" -- Rev. 21:18.
This new heaven and new earth are the inheritance of saints after the resurrection of the dead. It is not in this world, but in the world to come. And it is in connection with this new creation in point of time that the ungodly, the unsaved, "have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." As certainly as this blessed state described is in the future world, so certainly is the state symbolized by the lake of fire in the future world. There is no second death till after the resurrection.
Now, we have found Gehenna, while it is not yet created, it is ordained of old in the purpose of God, and when death delivers up the bodies and hades delivers up the souls of the unsaved, then after death, and after the resurrection, and after the judgement, "both soul and body" shall be cast into Gehenna" -- that real Gehenna of fire, the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. The name means little to us; the thing is important, and had been just as real and as terrible, if nameless.
To the Jew, the name was signiticant. It carried weight. To us, the other symbols, the "lake of fire", is more impressive. The application is the same. The final destiny of the unsaved is the unsearchable reality.
Finally, we are told by the liberalist, that the lake of fire is a "process of cleansing." Then, all that are cast into it are sent there for the purpose of purification. The "beast and the false prophet" are there. When will they be purified? The devil is to be cast into it. Will he be purified? Why not? Death and hades are to be cast into it. Is this for the purpose of purification? "But these are to be destroyed," I hear it said. Then why cast them into "a sovereign fire for purification?" Consistency should be observed in the use of figures of speech and in the disposition of symbols. But if we admit the destruction of these, what then? The beast and the false prophet were cast into the lake of fire and destroyed. The devil was cast into the lake of fire and destroyed. Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire and destroyed -- abolished forever. "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast in to the lake of fire and purified."
Perhaps some fool will deny the material point in this connection, that is, that Gehenna and the lake of fire mean the same thing. If denied, the difficulties are not cancelled. The formidable facts of Scripture confront them still. The "lake of fire" is there; the emblem of the final state of the wicked beyond the resurrection and the judgement, and whatever meaning is attached to Gehenna, and however figurative the "lake of fire," the point so clearly made, that the punishment denoted is in the future world, stands unmoved, and this is the great fact. Then, what if it could be shown that by the use of Gehenna the Savior made the Valley of Hinnom the emblem of national judgements? Would that explain the doom of the devil, and all the punishments that follow the destruction of death and Hades? Would it obliterate the significance of the "second death"?
But no proof or good reason can be given for separating Gehenna and the lake of fire. As we have seen, Gehenna means punishment after death. Men are cast into it after the body is killed, and yet it receives them soul and body together. It is therefore after the resurrection. It is the "Gehenna fire", the "everlasting fire," "the unquenchable fire," and it is the "fire prepared for the devil and his angels". It corresponds in every particular to the "lake of fire." Like the lake, it is after death, after the resurrection, and after the judgement, and it receives the devil and his angels, as well as the ungodly of earth. Then why separate them? This cannot be done.
Gehenna and the lake of fire point to the same thing. That thing is final. It is the "second death". On it falls the curtain of everlasting night! No voice echoes back its horrors. No light gleams from its lurid burnings. No revolution of cycles numbers the measure of its years. Eternity, dark, fathomless, hopeless -- seals the fate of all adjudged to dwell amid the devouring fires.
The best way to learn the opinions of a people at a given time in their history is to study their literature at the period in question, or as near it as possible. Josephus, and other Jewish writers of the times of Christ, record with great minuteness and general accuracy, the history of that nation. According to Josephus, the Jews believed in judgement after death; followed by eternal punishment to the wicked. It is evident that at the age in which this document was written, intelligent Christians so understood the Jews, and so represented them, and so far as we can learn, without complaint or contradiction. Josephus tells us that the Pharasees held that all souls are incorruptible, but the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment (Wars of the Jews II, 8, 14 ) The Targums are perhaps the most authoritative expositions of the Jewish faith as it was when Christ was on earth, now within our reach. These afford unmistakable evidence that eternal punishment was taught and believed by the Jewish people.
If the Jews got their notion of eternal punishment from the heathen philosophers, why did not Christ correct this error, rather than give strength to it? The truth is that the Jews perfectly understood Christ in reference to eternal punishment, but in the language of the Bible, as quoted by the author of the article entitled "Eternal Torment", "In the last days men shall depart from the true faith, giving heed unto seducing spirits and the doctrine of devils."
That scripture is a merited photograph of the no-Hellites. It is none other than "the doctrine of devils". It is sustained and propagated by devils. The no-Hell doctrine was conceived in iniquity and born in hell. If these men, in the language of St. Paul, "of corrupt minds," get any consolation out of their doctrine, why not keep it for themselves, and not try to force it on innocent girls and boys, and others of pure minds and life, for they themselves will need all the comfort their doctrine can give when they become companions and associates of the devil and his angels.
This doctrine of "no eternal punishment for the wicked" is a hell-trap calculated to slide souls into hell with ease. If there is no hell, it occurs to me that, "there should be two hells," to put the advocates of such a pernicious doctrine. The souls of men are conscious after the death of the body. Moses and Elijah had been dead a long time when seen on the Mount of Transfiguration. Samuel had been dead a long time before he told Saul, the King of Israel, of his impending fate. (Samuel 28). The rich man was alive after his body had been buried. So was Lazarus. So was Abraham, after his body had lain long in the cave of Macpela. He was heard to say to the rich man that there was a great chasm - gulf, which separate the righteous souls of men from the wicked, in Hades or Sheol. Christ said fear not them that hath power to kill the body, but fear him who hath power to kill -- both soul and body -- in Gehenna fire.
I have done this in defense of the truth and for the innocent ones who might be led astray by this false doctrine.
Sequachee Valley News
August 12, 1909
Letter To The Editor
SEPARATE EXISTENCE OF THE SOUL
Editor News: It seems impossible that anyone endowed with the consciousness and sensibilities common to our race and capable of observing the development of life incident to our history in this world and departure out of it, should live long without asking the question: "If a man die shall he live again?" But while everyone finds something within himself prompting him to ask this question, no one not aided by revelation has been able to answer it satisfactorily to himself. The Bible alone has drawn aside the veil which separates time from eternity, so as to reveal to us the fact and the character of the existence of the soul, when dislodged from the earthly tabernacle.
But even the Bible does not disclose the mode and surroundings of the life beyond in such a way as to meet all the requirements of curiosity. It does not tell us about the nature of the separate life, the locality of the abode of the soul, and the pursuits and activities which pertain to it in the invisible world. Many questions arise touching these things which no man can answer, even with the helps of revelation at hand. The design of revelation is not to gratify curiosity, but to command our faith. In harmony this design "life and immortality are brought to light." The momentous fact of life eternal is set before us with impressiveness of language and imagery so as to cut off excuses if we live in doubt. The Scriptural idea of the soul's continued existence, and the allusions, direct and indirect, to this period which we denominate the intermediate state, are plain enough, when rightly considered, to assure us that death does not consign us to unconsciousness.
It is proper here to glance at some passages which relate to the continued existence of the soul, and which can not be otherwise construed without great violence: "And fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." A parallel passage, "Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear. Fear him which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell."
The single point here to be noted is that the soul is not killed when the body is killed. This fact lies upon the surface of the passages, and will not be affected by the most critical prying into the profoundest depths of their meaning. Men may kill the body but they cannot kill the soul. This strikes away the "No-Hellite" conceptions of the soul as dependent on the bodily organism, and clearly marks its survival of the shock that prostrates the body to the dust.
If these passages mean anything, they mean that the soul is not dependent on the body for its existence; that it is not identical with the body; that it is not a part of the body; that it does not die with the body, and therefore is not of the nature of the body. Whatever it is, whatsoever its attributes, its capabilities, its conditions of being or its ultimate destiny, the dissolution of the body which liberates it from its earthly connections, leaves its vitality untouched and its intrinsic energies unimpaired. With its bodily connection severed, it enters a new soul life, a new state where it finds new associations all adjusted to the development of its spiritual life, and looking to the final waiting it in the "manifestation of the eons of God."
The criticisms of soul-sleepers and destructionists are not forgotten, but we fail to find any force in them.
There are many facts mentioned in the Scriptures, which are rich in suggestiveness at least on this subject. The transfiguration of Christ revealed the presence of Moses, who had been dead many hundred years. There is no intimation that he appeared in a glorified body, or that he had yet experienced the resurrection of the dead, nor dare we imagine that the scene was merely phenominal, deceiving the disciples by an optical illusion, in which phantoms played the part of historical personages. The testimony it too plain. Moses and Elias appeared talking with Jesus, and they talked about the decease of Jesus at Jerusalem.
To the Saddncees who denied the separate existence of the soul, as they did the existence of angels, Christ once said concerning Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, "they live," although they had been so long dead. These old patriarchs were alive, while their bodies slumbered in the grave. Their souls did not die with their bodies.
As to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, if it be a parable, it represents Lazarus as living with Abraham, after he had died in poverty at the rich man's gate, and it also represents the painful consciousness of torment after Lazurus was dead and buried. But it is said that these are only appearances and representations, not realities. Let us be careful here. It matters nothing whether this Scripture be taken as a parable or a history, so far as its meaning is concerned, but whatever view we take, it must be conceded that Christ represented these men as continuing to exist. Now that representation was either true or false. Men exist after death or they do not, Christ represented them as existing. The people to whom the representation was made believed it true, and the Saviour knew they believed it true, and that if He did not correct their impressions they would be confirmed in this belief. Yet, Christ did not attempt to controvert their prevailing thought, but made this representation of the state of the dead in good faith, and with the most impressive silence respecting any misapprehension likely to arise in the minds of any who believed in the separate existance of the soul.
What if this representation is a parable? Christ's parables are not fables. He did not deal in fiction. Every parable He uttered was founded on facts. This point is worthy of particular note, especially as sometimes reference is made to parables of our Lord to justify the rise of fiction, as a suitable medium through which to communicate religious truth. Whether it be right or wrong to use fiction, or whether it be possible to employ it to advantage or not, it cannot be shown that Christ resorted to it. We must therefore conclude that when Christ represented the souls of men as in existence after death, He meant that we should believe that they do exist. He spoke of the existence of spirits "without flesh and bones." Think on this and read Christ's own words.
Christ also speaks of the continued life of patriarchs and prophets in such a way as to confirm the Pharisees, who believed in these things, as against the Sadducees who disbelieved them. We are unable to see any other way of interpreting our Lord's response to the appeal of the dying penitent, "Today shalt tbou be with me in paradise," thereby teaching an immediate entrance of the soul into conscious rest. Paul was caught up into Paradise, and he spoke of it as "the third heaven," but he betrays no consciousness of the presence of his body, or of its participation in rapture of the soul. Indeed, he could not tell but that he was "out of the body" in that wonderful experience, which shows that he did not doubt the possibility of disembodied existence. Christ entered paradise the day He was crucified, and the soul of the penitent entered "with Him", without awaiting the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven.
In harmony with this view, there is another fact of special significance. It is that when the Saviour comes in the clouds with the angels, with the sound of the trnmpet to raise the dead, the saints are to come with Him. "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." "Now, if we believe that Christ died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." During the intervening period they are "absent from the body and present with the Lord," and when he comes it will be "with all His saints," as well as with the angels. It cannot be that they will then appear "with Him" in full possession of their resurrected bodies, for in this respect they are then to be caught up in company with those who are alive and remain," to meet the Lord in the air. They come with Him, resume their rising bodies, and with the living translated saints are caught up to be forever with the Lord.
This brings up to a passage bearing on the subject, and requiring careful study. It extends from 2 Corinthians 4:15 to the ninth verse of the chapter following too long to be transcribed here. Notwithstanding the division of chapters, this is a single paragraph, and the keynote is struck in the opposite tendencies of "the outward man, and the inward man." Much has been said about the peculiar language here employed, but the result of the most critical scrutiny is that the most obvious sense of the words is the true sense. The "outward man" is the body; the "inward man" the soul. The body is "perishing", gradually going down to earth, but the soul is not perishing. The inward man differs from the outward man in nature, substance, and quality; it is not subject to the same laws of life, nor liable to the same fate in death. So opposite are these two natures, manifesting a veritable duality in each individual, that as one yields to the inevitable law of dissolution, the other becomes more and more vigorous, and shows itself possessed of additional powers yet to unfold, as it escapes the depressions and enthrallments of its connection with a nature tending to death. "For which cause we faint not, but through our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."
Hence the apostles spoke of the afflictions of the body even to dissolution, as being light and momentary. The soul survives them all, and enters the higher state scarcely conscious of the burden left behind, except as its participation in the afflictions of earth enhanced is appreciation of the exceedingly abundant glory which is eternal. And this glory appears to the eye of faith while the burden is yet being borne and reveals itself with greater clearness and increasing value, as the "inward man" turns away from material things which are temporal, and fixes its gaze upon the realities of the world to come. The things which are not seen are eternal. And this approximation of the soul to invisible things is not arrested by the dissolution of the "outward man." The whole tendency during the bodily life is in the opposite direction, and it cannot be that the culmination of the temporary afflictions will reverse the order of all previous experiences. For "we know if this earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God; a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." The outward man here becomes our earthly house, distinguished from a permanent home, or building place, and giving the character of tabernacle, so that the soul's stay on earth is merely a tent life. Its connection with this world is veiled and unseen, and is preparatory to a higher life and giving it expression as uninterrupted by death, the apostle blends metaphors, recognizing the continual life of the soul, and yet reaching out in thought to everlasting habitations beyond the resurrection. This involves some obscurity and calls for careful observance of the scope of argument. We must therefore, before becoming confused with this mingling of metaphors, note the emphatic point in the statement. It is that which indicates the time when the soul is to have the dwelling place which is not the "earthly house of this tabernacle. " Whatever the building of God may mean in its ultimate signification, it is to receive the soul and become the house or dwelling place of the "inward man" during the time the outward man, the body, or tabernacle, is lying in the dust of the earth.
The earthly house will dissolve and then the building of God will be occupied. It is well, also, to observe the leading points of contrast in this language. It is not the perishing body with the resurrection body, but the temporary residency of the soul on earth with its permanent abode in heaven. This puts the whole future existence in opposition to the brief life in this world, making the contrast more striking and impressive than a mere antithetic comparison of the material and the spiritual. And the fact that tbe final glory of the redeemed is brought into the account does not necessarily imply that its fullest development will be found in the body, for the idea of a progressive development is by no means incompatible with Scriptural thoughts and figures, and is not excluded by metaphors here introduced. The great fact postulated with emphasis is that in passing out of the dying body, tbe conscious selfhood, the "inward man", enters upon a career of everlasting enjoyment, which beginning as it does in a disembodied state, continues its approach to the infinite source of blessedness, until tbe redemption of the body itself is accomplished. The groaning in this tabernacle is easily understood, but the use of the words "clothed" and "unclothed" induces a slight obscurity. Tbe building of God, the house not made with hands, appears to become at once the dwelling place and the clothing of the soul. It supplies the place of the body. In tbe truest sense it becomes a "house of the soul," "The house from heaven," or of a heavenly nature and origin. The language confessedly obscure may without violence imply an investiture of the soul with some spiritual form and vehicle, which shall ultimately take upon itself the resurrection body, and make the connecting link between the undying nature, and which out of corruption shall put on immortality.
The fact is plain that the inward man, which does not perish with the outward man, enters at once the building of God; it rises from earth to heaven and begins its eternal life, but this is not all that was in the Apostle's thought. He saw in that "house not made with hands", all needful provision for the permanent home, and while groaning in this earthly tabernacle, and contemplating the coming blessedness, he longed first to be disembodied, and then to be finally established in tbe home of the redeemed when mortality is swallowed up of life.
After this allusion to the ultimate triumph, the Apostle comes back to the leading thought of immediate union with Christ when death occurs: "Therefore," in view of all the provisions for the soul when one with earth, "we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord." (For we walk by faith, not by sight.) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
In the thought of the Apostle, there is a conscious selfhood, which is distinguishable from the body which now lives in the body, but neither blends with it, nor depends upon it, so as to be incapable of another life, and which is not destined to share all the experiences of the physical nature. This interior selfhood grows stronger while the body grows weaker. It departs from the body in death, but does not die, and when the body falls into dust "it returns to God who gave it." It is then absent from the body, yet still living, being present with the Lord."
It was in view of this continued life of the proper person that our Saviour said, "If any man keep my sayings, he shall never see death." The separate life of the soul is thus plainly revealed, and appears so positively interwoven with these Scriptures that we cannot explain them with consistency or satisfaction without taking this doctrine as an established truth. And to be present with the Lord means more than to lose connection with earth. Paul saw in it something desirable, something far better than to live in tbe body, and spoke as if anxious for the consummation; "For I am in a straight betwixt two desires, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better." This means nothing less than conscious, communion with Christ. Whether the selfhood that departs from the body finds prepared for it a special vehicle in which to live, or whether the soul itself forms a spiritual vestment for the conscious self and divine life within it, or whether the soul, including all the qualities and characteristics of the spiritual nature, remains "unclothed" till the period of the resurrection of the dead, we may not positively affirm, but that the departed saints live with Christ, and in joyful fellowship with him, is the plain sense of this passage, and agrees with the whole tenor of the Apostolic writings.
Wherefore we labor, and whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.
The scene which John describes in the Revelation wherein appeared the company of the redeemed from earth, consisting of the one hundred and forty-four thousand of the tribes of Israel, and the innumerable multitude from all nations, clad in white robes, and palms in their hands, is sufficient of itself to settle the question in hand, and cannot be explained with any hypothesis that denies the soul existence separate from the body. In an other vision, John saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and described tbem as under the altar, waiting in hope of a grand consummation yet in the future, which points to the resurrection of the dead, and the retribution that follows.
Dear Editor, permit me to point out a few discrepancies, and unfounded declarations as made by the gentleman who writes in behalf of the "No-Hellite" doctrine.
In his reply to my article entitled "Gehenna and the Second Death," he says that he makes no claims to scholarship, or character of large proportions." I suppose he meant reputation of celebrity. A man who hasn't a character as bright as the Morning Star, certainly means to limit the efficacy of Jesus' blood, or acknowledge that he does not want such. Character is what a man really is. If I were in the poultry business and a man would tell me that he did not have much character, I am sure I would be afraid of him for my chicken's sake, "but I am pursuaded better things" of tbe brother. Mistakes of the head are not always of the heart. But I wish to say that none but scholars versed in the original can discuss the question at issue with the intelligence it demands, but with the same stroke of the pen he assumes the role of a critic. In both of his articles, he seems to want to speak in God's stead. He seems to think all he says must be accepted. If he is not a scholar, I presume he is quoting from Mr. Russell, or one of his disciples. We would like to have better authority than these on such an important subject. If this narrow-minded egotist does not reveal the spirit of a boasted Pharisee, and the faith and doctrine of a Sadducee "I will take a pilgrimage to see one." He tells us that be is not a scholar. This statement I accept as correct. Then ignorance and brass remains to qualify him for the position he takes.
The self-esteemed gentleman also undertakes to tell us what tbe word "Gospel" means. As the blind is trying to lead the folks, I will proceed to give the meaning in part by tbe best and accepted authors. He says "Gospel" means "good tidings." That it true, but how much more does it mean? Gospel comes from Anglo-Saxon "God Spell." The "Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge" gives a very long definition of this word. The term is used to designate the four biographies of our Lord, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Each Gospel has its own characteristic. "Bible Dictionary" by Dr. W. M. Smith devotes nearly four double column pages in giving a full definition to the word, "Gospel." The name Gospel is applied to the four inspired histories of the life and teaching of Christ, as contained in the New Testament. The next is from the Bible Cyclopedia, by Dr. A. R. Fause. He gives a definition embracing four three-column pages. His is the same nearly as that given by Dr. Smith. Also Robinson's "Calmet," which is considered by the leading scholars as genuine. His definition embraces four pages of very fine print, and he ably defines it according to the early writers. The following is one of his definitions: "The Gospel, in general, the record of truth, actions, teachings, death, resurrection aud ascension of Jesus Christ". Then I am correct, for I am defending the sayings of Jesus Christ. But I must cite you to some other standard authors. According to the Imperial Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, this definition embraces near nine pages in small print. Note the following: "Words from God, the life of Christ, the whole system of the Christian faith, God's word, general doctrine of the New Testament, the doctrine or truth of the New Testament." Once more from Webster's Unabridged Dicionary: "The substance or most important truths of Christianity; any system of religious truth or doctrine. I could refer you to many more authors but I think this will suffice.
I used the word in the sense of the standard authors, and therefore care nothing for what a two-by-four critic might have to say. I give the definition and refer to authors for the benefit of those who do not have ready access to books. My friend does not like the sense in which I applied the Scripture, "the doctrine of devils." He used it in reference to the ministry and teachers of other religious bodies. In his article entitled "Eternal Torment", it was a drag and thrust at other Christians all the way through, and anyone with common understanding will see it in that light. But when I made the proper application of the Gospel salve, it raised a blister, and almost took the hide. Paul used these very terms in reference to those who preached just such erroneous doctrines and the "No-Hellite" doctrine is none other than the "doctrine of devils", and propagated by "men of corrupt minds, reprobates concerning the truth."
Again, he flatly contradicts a true statement, and one that is incontestably established. His words are: "We know the Jews did not believe in hell and the immortality of the souls of all men." I say they did, fearless of successful contradiction by the scholarship of the world.
Read the following verbatim quotations from Josephus and the Jewish Targum. If you know the value of the above authors you will quickly see the caliber of the man you have been reading after. I notice that all leading commentators, theologians, and historians since the days of Christ, quote the above authors. My friend flatly denies, but fails to cite you to a single author to verify his statement that the Jews did not believe in future punishment and the immortality of the souls of all men. I call for one single author, outside the "No-Hellite" circle.
I will give quotations word for word from Josepbus, the Targum, and perhaps others. I insist that all interested in this subject read the author I give.
Josephus, Wars of Jews, 2:14: "The Pharisees say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.''
Antiquity of the .lews. Book 18, 1-8: "The soul's vigor is immortal. Under the earth the reward or punishment is according as their lives have been virtuous or vicious in the present world; that the souls of the bad are allotted an eternal prison."
Antiquity of the Jews, Book 18, 1-8. footnote: "The belief of the Pharisees is nearly agreeable to the doctrine of Christianity."
For fuller information on the belief of the eternal torment for the bad, read the 8th chapter of the 2nd "Book of Wars."
The Targums are perhaps the most authoritative expositions of Jewish faith, as it was when Christ was on earth, now within our reach. These afford unmistakable evidence that eternal punishment was taught and believed by the Jewish people. They contain the thought of the leaders of the people as taught in the synagogues, and unquestionably reveal the prevalent opinion of the Jews at the time of Christ, and prior to His day.
The Jerusalem Targum on Genesis 15:17, represents the torment of the wicked as "sparkling aud flaming with fire into which the wicked fall."
And the Targum Ecclesiatics 9:15 speaks of the "fire of hell", and chapter 10:1, of "the sparks of the fire of hell, and chapter 8:10, "who shall go to be burned in hell."
The Targum on Isaiah 33:14, is as follows: "The sinners in Zion are broken down; fear hath seized the ungodly, who are suffering for their ways. Then, who among us shall dwell in Jerusalem where the ungodly are judged and delivered to hell for an ETERNAL BURNING."
Now, I have quoted the most authoratative records known or in existance to prove that the Jews did believe in eternal punishment for the wicked and that all souls are immortal. Therefore, an immortal soul is not subject to "obliteration." Having shown conclusively that the Jews did believe in eternal torment for the wicked, it remains to say, that if they were deceived in this matter, and deceiving others, supposing this part of their faith to be of divine origin and from the Scriptures, when it was not, the Saviour was bound as a divine teacher, to break the delusion by explaining the source of the error, and denouncing the heresy. Silence would have been criminal. But the Saviour was not silent; neither did He denounce their belief. On the contrary, He used the terms and the same symbols which the Jews employed to express their ideas of eternal punishment, and He applied them in the same way, only with greater emphasis to express the oppressive and dreadful judgements that should befall the wicked, or the finale of human folly and crime. From this, the conclusion is inevitable that Christ found no fault with the Jews respecting their belief in the final punishment of the wicked, but sanctioned this in all essential particulars.
The doctrine I advocate is the truth as set forth by Christ. And in the language of St. Paul, "I am set for the defence of the Gospel." He also exhorts us to contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints. I have made no statement for which I did not have the strongest proof. I have denied nothing that I could not prove to be false. The position that I occupy, and the deep interest I have in the souls of men, demands of me every effort possible to overthrow such a hellish doctrine. I care nothing for the criticisms of a few silly folks who seem to see in the writer a wrong spirit. I know my own heart, "and in whom I have believed". My record and life work will speak for my integrity.
I also know about the characteristics of the "No-Hellites." They poke their literature in the face of people who despise it, and who would rather have a den of vipers in their home than this damnable stuff scattered among their children, and also in the parishes of consecrated ministers, and into the flock of immortal souls over whom they have care, and continually want editors to print their literature who despise it as they do a rattler, and then, if the minister defends his people and doctrine of Christ, as it is his duty, these folks stick up their heads, everyone of them in battle array. They allege criticism and persecutions, and are the fellows who do it. I just call the attention of the readers to what appears in the News for proof. If you will inform yourself with reference to these "No-Hellites", you will find they have almost forced their damnable literature upon the innocent and unsuspecting, and criticised every agency of evangelization, and when a true servant of Jesus Christ puts up a defence, they say he does not show the spirit of the Master.
The Master got a little bit rough when He had to deal with a den of thieves. He whipped them out of the Temple with a cat-o-nine-tails, or something as severe, and I am sure that I do not feel any better than my Master. Christ used terms to fit the people He addressed. If He met a fool, He called him a fool. In the language of Sam Jones, always call a thing by its right name. I know how to deal with these folks. I have met them before, and am well prepared to handle all of them. I am not at all alarmed about taking care of the faith I advocate. I do not have to make any preparation to handle this sect.
If a public joint-discussion becomes necessary on the question at issue, and one sufficiently worthy presents himself, I am in the field for that business. I have had some experience along that line, anyway. Again, I say that the Jews did believe in eternal punishment and the immortality of the souls of all men. I have given the best authority to substantiate what have said. If I were to say that they did not, and not cite the readers of the News to some author, I would expect them to take me for a fool, or to be a member of the Ananias club, and perhaps both.
If there is a reply to this article and it is after the style of the other one, I think I will treat it with silence. Out of respect for myself, I shall refrain. Later I shall write for the News under different chapters on these important questions.
The Ephraim Utah Enterprise
June 5, 1915
Ignorant Mormon Conference President Praises "Pastor" Russell (edited)
The Ephraim Enterprise is in receipt of the following letter from Elder Alonza Beal Isaacson, President, Ohio Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio. (This frontier ignoramus was 25 years-old at the time of this LTTE. Although having attended three lectures by CTR, and reading WatchTower literature and CTR's weekly newspaper articles, this dude barely understood what CTR was all about. We will assume that such was true of most of CTR's self-important audiences.)
Your paper has been coming to me for the past four months quite regularly. It is naturally a source of pleasure and interest to me, and I appreciate receiving news from home through its columns. I trust that it continues to come. I would miss it very much.
The Enterprise has been of good service in publishing Pastor Russell's lectures. Pastor Russell is doing a good work. I have heard him three times: once in Louisville, Ky., in January 1915; once in Chattanooga, Tenn., on March 16, 1915; and once in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 13, 1915.
In my tracting in these cities, I have met several people who are deeply interested in the Bible Student's Association, which Pastor Russell has organized. Mr. Russell is a biblical scholar. (YES, COMPARED TO YOU!) He has traveled extensively, and he says he has been engaged in religious work for forty years. (IN 63 YEARS, THIS EDITOR HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN RELIGIOUS WORK FOR 60 YEARS!!) He is now sixty-three years of age, and is still hearty and active. He isn't an orator, yet one enjoys listening to him, and naturally pays strict attention. There is no fee for admission, and no collections are taken up when he lectures.
"The Battle of Armageddon" was the title of each of the three discourses I have heard him give. Whether he uses this subject every time, I cannot say, but the three lectures I heard were practically alike. He explains that at the end of the great world war now waging, when all Christendom is weakened, there will be general revolution, followed by worldwide anarchy, and that will mean the destruction of all but the very elect, or chosen of God. He declares that near the close of present hostilities, the Millenium will be ushered in, and Christ will come to rule as Prince of Peace and Lord of Lords.
Pastor Russell, I say again, is doing a great work. He has a large following. Outside of the Catholic church, he is very popular. He differs from other ministers in saying there can be but one true church, and that it does make a difference to which church one belongs. In this regard, he takes the same stand that the Mormon Elders take. Pastor Russell declares that the Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Christian Science, Episcopalian, Baptist, Unitarian, and all the rest of them lack authority from God, and are manmade doctrines having come down from the Dark Ages. It particularly was noticed by us Mormon Elders who attended his lectures that when he said all the churches are manmade, naming them over one by one, that he did not once say or infer anything against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Undoubtedly, he has read the Book of Mormon, and knows of the organization and doctrine of the Mormon church. I can be safe in saying that I believe, because according to his own statements, he has studied religions for forty years. Many of -- indeed nearly all of -- his ideas accord exactly with the teachings of Mormonism. (Few JWs know that CTR believed that in future millenia that humans would settle and live on other planets -- sifted from the LDS.) We must remember that he is only sixty three years old, but that the Mormon church has had Elders preaching and selling books since its organization eighty-five years ago.
Pastor Russell is the head of the International Bible Students' Association. Unlike all ancient Prophets of God, and unlike the Latter-day Prophet Joseph Smith, who declared they had direct authority from God to act in His name, and who invariably said, "Thus saith the Lord God," Pastor Russell does not claim to have direct authority from God (WRONG!), is not setting up any church or denomination (WRONG!), and does not baptize anyone (WRONG!). He performs no holy ordinance of the Gospel (WRONG!), and as far as I have read his books and heard him speak, he has not told the people of the world what they must do (WRONG!) and what church they must join to be saved. (WRONG!)
This is the good Pastor Russell is doing: He lectures on religion to thousands of thinking people (LIKE YOU?) every year. He organizes bible classes, and like "noisy" Billy Sunday, he sets people to thinking and studying (SECOND QUESSING) for themselves. He is arousing an investigating (DOUBTING) attitude among churchgoers. Pastor Russell is not a "Mormon", therefore people of the world will reason with him more readily, and are not prejudiced against him. He is drawing thinking (HALF-WITTED) people out of their religious ruts, as it were, and they attend several churches, instead of just their own. In this way, they begin to compare and to judge between the different creeds and beliefs, and their judgments are based more intelligently on the (LATEST MIS-INTERPRETATIONS of the) scriptures. Homes are thus thrown open to the Mormon Elders more frequently, and people listen more readily to the Gospel of Christ as the Elders explain it. People come out and hear the Eiders preach. And, so I say, again, Pastor Russell is doing a good work. He is paving the way for the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that is, for the work of the Mormon Elders. ELDER A. B. ISAACSON (Died of pneumonia in Utah in 1919.)