"Who then [in the
end of the Gospel Age, at the time of Christ’s return] is a faithful and wise servant [special messenger to the Church], whom his lord hath made ruler [general
servant or steward] over his household
[the household of faith], to give them
meat in due season [truth as it becomes due]?” (Matt. 24:45)
The context of this pledge shows that this special servant would be placed over the household of faith in order to minister to it, showing that the servant is an individual leader and not the household itself, nor an organization or group. As That Servant, Pastor Russell founded, led and directed a worldwide Little Flock movement dispensing an abundance of deep truths then coming to light concerning Christ’s Second Advent and imminent Kingdom. He gave “meat in due season.” Although the theme “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21) ran throughout his ministry, his mission included much more. Since 1799 the world had entered the “time of the end” (Dan. 12:4) and the work of cleansing the sanctuary (Church Class) had been proceeding. The Miller Movement had brought attention to the timeliness of Christ’s return and related features of God’s Plan. That Servant gave the chronology, which we accept, as follows:
1874 – The awakening of the Lord’s people on the subject of the Second Advent culminated in 1874 when the announcement began to go forth:
“Behold The Bridegroom.” This message was given to the Virgins: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” —Matt. 25:6 (see Diaglott). It does not say He cometh but Behold (see) he is present. He is here, go meet him. And the further announcement, “Thy God reigneth.” (Isa. 52:7) the message was to the Virgins. The revelation to this will come later.
A detailed understanding of the different lines of Bible Chronology, (genealogies, Jubilee cycles, parallel dispensations, etc.) provided undeniable proof to the watching saints that the Lord’s presence had commenced. Truth on the distinction between human and spiritual natures revealed that Christ’s second presence is an invisible one and that the only manner in which He would be revealed or “seen” by the world was through the eye of understanding. That Servant showed that the first and second comings were related and part of one plan: the first to redeem the world, the second to restore and bless the world through the promised seed (Gal. 3:8,29). He made clear that the period between the first and second Advents (Gospel Age) was for calling, testing, and selection of a “people for his name” (Acts 15:14) to reign with Christ in the next age and share in the work of judging and blessing the world (1 Cor. 6:2). He came as the chief “reaper” at that time, also.
“THE HARVEST IS THE END OF THE AGE”
It was long believed that the Biblical Harvest applied to all times, but the light of present truth made clear that one Harvest occurred in the end of the Jewish Age gathering from that nation the “Israelites indeed” into the Gospel Church to be part of the prospective Bride. These being too few to make up the predestined number (Rev. 14:1), the High Calling was extended to the Gentiles “to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14)
Even though Christ was present in the Parousia and chief reaper, separating the wheat and tares with the sickle of truth (Rev. 14:14), That Servant was the mouthpiece and instrument for overseeing the gathering work. The Lord gave the message to That Servant: “Gather my Saints together unto me.” (Psa. 50:5) The Berean comments on that verse is as follows: “Gather my saints – from every quarter of Babylon into oneness with the Lord and each other, and out of fellowship with mere professors, tares…Not at death, nor continuously during the age, but after, and in consequence of, the Lord’s return.”
That Servant in turn gave the message to the Saints as “Come out of her my people.” (Rev. 18:4) The Berean Comments: “Come out of her – This advice was not always applicable; not until mystic Babylon’s fall under divine condemnation which prophecy shows was in 1878 AD.” The Saints were never gathered into one unit at all in the Gospel Age until the Harvest when they were gathered into the sphere of the Truth. As the consecrated came forth from the nominal church from 1874 to 1914, the Lord’s command of Psa. 50:5 was fulfilled. The gathering was done under That Servant to an extent never done since the days of the Apostles.
1878 – At this date Jesus took the office of King and began to exercise His power by resurrecting the sleeping Saints. (Matt. 28:18; Rev. 11:15‑17; Isa. 52:7) “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth...” (Rev. 14:13). The Berean comments on this: “Marking a particular time – 1878 – before which it would not be a blessing to die, but after which it would be a blessing to die.” Since 1878 those Saints who were still alive need not sleep even a moment, but in the instant of dying are changed to spiritual beings.
This date – 1878 – also was the beginning of the return of Divine favor to fleshly Israel. Their 1845 years double, [mishneh] began in AD 33 and ended 1878 AD ‑ 33 + 1845 = l878. (Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 2, page 218) “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare [appointed time of waiting] is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for her sins.” (Isa. 40:2) This is the new message to Israel – that the return of Divine favor has come. This “speaking comfortably” was to be done from 1878 onward, before they believe in Christ. All evidence of the return of Divine favor to fleshly Israel is evidence that Divine favor to spiritual Israel is gradually drawing to a close.
1881 – This is the date of the complete casting off of Babylon. The Gospel Age condition of wheat and tares combined is designated the Church nominal, church in name only. This mixed and confused condition is scripturally styled Babylon. That the wheat and tares were allowed to grow together until the Harvest indicates that God’s favor had been upon the nominal church throughout the Gospel Age (“Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand” – Jer. 51: 7). This was for the spiritual growth and testing of the Wheat class. As the Harvest truth reached the true Brethren throughout all denominations, it became apparent to them that the doctrines of Christendom were scripturally unsound, moving them to leave their various sects and join the assembly of the Saints outside sectarian boundaries. The Truth, therefore, made plain that “Babylon the Great is fallen” [no longer under Divine favor – Rev. 3:16], and that the only proper response for the true believers was to “come out of her my people.” (Rev. l8: 2,4)
Therefore, this date – 1881 – also marked the close of the special favor to Gentiles, the close of the High Calling, or invitation to the blessings peculiar to this age – to become joint-heirs with Christ and partakers of the Divine nature. (See Vol. 2, pp. 234, 235, also p. 213) At this time the full number was complete, including those in Heaven and those still in the flesh. However, opportunity was still open for some whom would take the place of those who lost their crowns. But at no time after 1881 was the full number incomplete, because each crown‑loser was replaced immediately.
In Volume 3, p 219 there is this: “As a matter of fact, then, the only ones, therefore, who could announce or explain this calling, are the very ones who are also shown from God’s Word that the time limit of this call was reached in October, 1881. Others, while quoting the Apostle’s words concerning a ‘high calling of God in Christ,’ really explain the lower call which belongs to the Millennial Age. Hence the general Gospel call is ended. None can extend it – some because they do not understand it and cannot give it, others because they know it to be at an end.”
1914 – That Servant predicted according to Bible Chronology, that this date would be the end of Gentile Times and a world war would be the sign of that. But everything was so calm and serene all over the world that he began to question the chronology. He went over it four or five times with other Brethren, but could find nothing wrong with it. Suddenly the war broke out due to the assassination of the Austrian Archduke in Sarajevo. All countries were involved, though some were not active in the battles of war.
In Rev. 7:1-3 we are told that the four angels should “Hold the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth... till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” The four winds in this text are the fallen angels (see also Dan. 7:2); the wind is the great war that started in 1914; and the forehead sealing refers to the administration of the Truth to those who came into the Truth before that war began in each country.
It should be noted here that all the Saints were spirit‑begotten (sealed in the heart) by 1914, but all of them had not been sealed in their foreheads (intellectually) with present truth. “Till we have sealed...” – those on this side of the veil had an important work, to gather together the elect and to seal the elect and to seal them in the forehead. Each sealed one became a sealer of others as soon as he himself was sealed.
The chief mission of the Church has been her own development. “Edifying one another.” (1 Thes. 5:11) “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith.” (Jude 20)
However, it should be carefully noted that this restraint was to be only “that no wind [World War One] might blow on the earth... till we have sealed the bondservants of our God in their foreheads” – giving sufficient knowledge of “Present Truth” to enable them to “Come out of her, My people.” (Rev. 18:4) The war did not break out in any country until the saints there had been “sealed in their foreheads.” Our thought is that the evil angels would long ago have done injury to the symbolic earth, sea and trees, had it not been for the restraint of Divine power. Symbolically, the earth represents organized society; the sea represents disorganized masses, and the trees represent the Household of Faith.
THE SMITING OF JORDAN
But all of them were “sealed in the forehead” in time to take part in the first Smiting of Jordan. This Smiting was sharp, disclosing truths that disproved the doctrine of Divine Right of the clergy, of aristocrats, of labor, each claiming certain privileges and powers by Divine Right. All the literature exposing these evils was used and directed by That Servant such as: Volume 4, Armageddon, tracts like The World on Fire, Distress of Nations, Clergy Ordination Proved Fraudulent, Why Financiers Tremble, PhotoDrama, etc. Public 1ectures and private conversations were used in this smiting, also. The Bible teaches that all of the saints, the entire 144,000, under Jesus their head, would be given the honor of executing (spiritual) vengeance upon the nations, and (spiritual) punishment upon the people, of binding the king and princes, and executing upon them the judgment written. (Psa. 149: 5‑9) This was done from the fall of 1914 to that of 1916. Certainly the work that the Lord’s servants did during those two years was the Glory, i.e. the special honor accorded the faithful at the extreme end of the Age. This passage by the expression, “this honor have all His saints,” shows that this honor would be shared in, even by the last member of the Little Flock to be called.
UNITY OF FAITH
If we define the “unity of faith” to be a clear and harmonious understanding of the “ten strings of the harp of God” (Psa. 33:2), then we must conclude Brother Russell and all who came into and clearly understood Harvest Present Truth indeed came to “unity of faith.” That this is the position God wishes His people now to accept is shown in Isa. 52:8, “Thy watchmen... shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” Note the Berean Comments on this: “In the harvest of the Gospel Age, clearly, harmoniously.” It was Brother Russell’s Stewardship Doctrine centering about Restitution that brought “unity of faith” for the first time in history to God’s people as a collective group. It is true that St. Peter preached Restitution (Acts 3:19-21); and it is true that St. Paul was “caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Cor. 12:4); and it is also true that the General Church of that time had not come to the “unity of faith” – had not come to a clear understanding of Restitution. Note the Berean Comments on verse 4: “unspeakable words – the message of present truth”; “it is not lawful – because not yet due.” Thus Brother Russell is in agreement that, though St. Paul himself may have arrived at “unity of faith,” he made no attempt to convey that knowledge to the General Church then. In support of this, note 2 Tim. 2:18, where some apparently thought they were already “reigning.” Certainly, in those two instances there could have been no clear concept of Restitution – no “unity of faith.”
Therefore, a Prophet (a Star Member) did accomplish the first of the two purposes for which the servants of the Church were appointed – “till we all attain to the unity of faith.” We believe he also accomplished the second of these purposes – “the measure of the full stature of the anointed one.” (Eph. 4:13, Dia.) When the last one was reaped in September 1914; when they had all come to antitypical Horeb, there also for the first time was reached “the full stature of the anointed one” in that the Body was then full and irrevocably complete unto that unity which “every joint supplieth, to the effectual working in the measure of every part.” (Eph. 4:16)
The Little Flock developing Truths were all presented by October 1914; all the Saints had come into Present Truth by Passover 1916, which then brought them all into “unity of faith,” although they were not then, or at any time on earth thereafter, endowed with the same degree of knowledge.
Can it be said that the “watchmen” have seen “eye to eye” since 1916? NO! Nor can it be said that this oneness is something attained by the Saint class beyond the veil, because there would be no need for them to be “watchmen” then. If any are inclined to believe that “unity of faith” means understanding the entire Bible, then we must admit that no one does, so far as we know.
This “unity of faith” may be summarized tersely as a general good understanding by all in the Parousia movement of the Great Plan of the Ages involving the Two Salvations, – for the Elect and Non‑elect – described in Rev. 15:3 as the “song of Moses and the Lamb.” All who accepted Harvest Truth were reasonably clear on this much of the Truth.
STONE CUT OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN
The stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which smites and scatters the Gentile powers, represents the true Church, the Kingdom of God. During the Gospel Age this stone kingdom was being formed, “cut out,” carved and shaped for its future position and greatness – not by human hands, but by the power or spirit of the truth, the invisible power of Jehovah. When complete, when entirely cut out, it was to smite and destroy the kingdoms of this world. Not the people, but the governments, are symbolized by the image, and these are to be destroyed that the people may be delivered. Our Lord Jesus came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them (John 3:17).
The stone, during its preparation, while being cut out, might be called an embryo mountain, in view of its future destiny; so, too, the Church could be, and sometimes is, called the Kingdom of God.
And at successive dates the authority of that “Stone” was broadened in scope: After 1878 the next date was l881 at which time Babylon was cast off; then still more of it in 1914, when “the stone cut out of the mountain without hands [the completed Christ Company began its smiting work; “to execute the Judgment written.” – Psa. 149:9]” Inasmuch as “this honor have all the saints,” it should be clear enough that all of them were fixedly in the Body, although quite a few of them were still on earth.
Now referring back to the metallic image of Dan. 2, we read in vs. 45: “Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold.” The utter annihilation of the empire of Satan in the great symbolic wind, the great symbolic earthquake and the great symbolic fire of the present Time of Trouble, which began in 1914, is thus represented as taking place. (1 Kings 19:11,12) God’s Millennial Kingdom [the stone that smote the image] will soon be established in place of Satan’s empire, and it will eventually fill the whole earth (v.35).
From Reprint 5631, February 15, 1915: “Wherever we look, we witness the disintegration of the present order, whether we view the conditions from a socia1 or religious or a financial standpoint. The lease of power to the kingdoms of this world has expired. It was foretold by the Prophet Daniel that ‘in the days of these kings,’ before their utter overthrow, the God of Heaven would set up a Kingdom which should smite and break in pieces all the kingdoms of men, the beastly kingdoms of Daniel’s dream. When these kingdoms would be given to ‘the people of the saints of the Most High,’ they were to ‘smite them in pieces as a potter’s vessel.’ This intimates that in some sense of the word the Lord will take possession of these before they have been completely overthrown; that some of the kingdoms represented in the Gentile image will be remaining at that time.
“What time then, is signified by the expression ‘in the days of these kings,’ when the Kingdom of God was to be set up in power? To our understanding the first step in the setting up of this Kingdom was the raising of the sleeping saints of the Gospel Age, which we believe was in the spring of 1878. Then began the glorification of the Church class. When these all shall have taken their places as members of the Church in glory, the Kingdom will be fully set up.
“This does not signify, that there may not be a part of the Kingdom work begun while some of the members of Christ are still in the flesh. Indeed some Scriptures seem to imply that there will be Kingdom work done this side the veil, while a work of still greater magnitude and authority is progressing on the other side of the veil. We read, ‘Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds.’ (Psa. l49:5‑9) This seems to imply, as we have mentioned before, that there is a special work to be done while these Saints still have beds, while they are in a condition of repose – not ‘tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine.’ (Eph.4:14) but fully at rest in God’s great plan. The Scripture goes on to say that they have a two-edged sword in their hands – this is the Word of God. They use it as the sword of the Spirit. This would not be true of them on the other side of the veil. They would have no use for a sword there. The Scriptures also declare that the high sounding praises of God are upon their lips. This, too, seems to be applicable to those this side the veil.
“The final phrase, ‘to execute the Judgment written,’ would seem to imply that there would be something for the saints on this side of the veil to do in connection with the execution of the Judgments upon the nations... We see nothing here to conflict with the thought that the Lord’s Kingdom may be properly understood to have begun operations and that the present smiting of the nations is under Kingdom control [written l915]. The fact that some of the members of the Kingdom class are still in the flesh does not militate at all against this thought. We see the kingdoms of this world now being dashed to pieces, and we are expecting to see the process continued until they are completely ground to powder. They shall become as the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and the wind shall carry them away. Then shall they be found no more at all. (Dan. 2:35)”
Brother Russell repeatedly said, in both the Towers and the Volumes, that the Kingdom was set up September 21, 1914. This meant that the full number of the Saints had been won and between 1914 and l9l6 the last ones came into the sphere of the truth – “sealed in the forehead.” (Rev. 7:1‑3) He also referred to the dates 1874, l878, and 1881 many times in his writings. He did not draw these out of his mind or imagine them, but understood them from the Bible chronology, time prophecies, parallels, jubilees and types. It is remarkable how al1 five of these lines of Biblical teaching reach the same conclusions and the same dates. The Bible is the standard by which we accept or reject any teaching. That Servant’s teaching on chronology meets that standard, therefore we accept it.
That Servant did not hesitate to give us the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). He taught four elect classes, including an unbegotten consecrated class between the ages, after the High Calling is closed and before Restitution begins. Perhaps in a future paper we will give more details on these four classes citing Brother Russell’s references to the unbegotten class in the end of the age. But it is sufficient to say That Servant finished his mission to “gather together the Saints.” (Psa. 50:5) All were reaped into the Harvest movement before.
That Servant enacted the toga scene in the railroad Pullman in Texas on October 16, 1916, with one of his final statements being, “I have done as thou has commanded me.” (Ezek.9:11). This was in substance one of the last statements of Jesus. “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:4)
a brief biography of Charles Taze Russell
“And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.” — Ezek 9:11
Pastor Russell died in 1916 at 64 years of age on the 31st day of this month. He was on his way from speaking engagements in California to Bethel in New York City.
He was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on February 16, 1852, the son of Joseph L. and Eliza Birney Russell, both of Scotch-Irish lineages. Reared under the influence of Christian parents, at age 11 he became interested in theology, joined the Congregational church and became active in local mission work.
The doctrine of eternal torment of all mankind, except the few elect, became so abhorrent to him that at the age of seventeen he was a skeptic. He said, “A God that would use his power to create human beings whom He foreknew and predestined should be eternally tormented, could be neither wise, just nor loving; His standards would be lower than that of many men.”
However, he continued to believe in God and felt sure there was a misunderstanding of the Scriptures. Young Russell began a systematic study of the Bible and among many others found texts like: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” —Isa 28:10, and others like:
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. —Isa 1:18,
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness dividing the word of truth.” —2 Tim 2:15-16
Russell sought out other persons who were seeking like himself and soon a regular Study was formed. He and his co-seekers discovered there was no such thing as “immortal souls” in the Bible. Instead: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” —Ezek 18:20, and: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” —Eccl 9:10
A wise and faithful servant
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” —Matt. 24:45
Pastor Russell never claimed to have formed a new religion but taught the truths that Jesus and the Apostles had proclaimed and it has been said that he was the greatest teacher of the Good News since the Apostle Paul.
He was known the world over as author, publisher, lecturer, minister of the Gospel and was Pastor to 1200 Congregation. His writings were published in at least 35 languages.
The following publications, issued between the years 1881 and 1914, had phenomenal circulation, as indicated below and it has been monumental numbers since that time and they are still being published:
Food For Thinking Christians-------------------------- 1,450,000
Tabernacle Shadows------------------------------------ 1,000,000
Divine Plan of the Ages --------------------------------- 5,532,500
The Time is at Hand ------------------------------------- 1,878,500
Thy Kingdom Come --------------------------------------1,792,500
Battle of Armageddon------------------------------------ 714,000
The Atonement-------------------------------------------- 663,500
The New Creation---------------------------------------- 646,500
What Say the Scriptures About Hell-------------------3,000,000
He also wrote and published an accompanying book, Scenario and produced the Photo-Drama of Creation, which had a spectacular circulation. Production began in 1912, and it premiered in January 1914 in New York City. It was the first major screenplay to incorporate synchronized sound, moving film, and color slides.
In the summer of that year it was presented in Germany, other countries of Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Over 9 million people saw the full Photo-Drama of Creation or an abbreviated version named The Eureka Drama.
In 1879 at age 27, Pastor Russell edited and published in July the first edition
of a monthly paper “Zion’s
He also founded the “Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society” and using all his personal funds, purchased the Bethel property in Brooklyn, NY, which became headquarters and home until his death October 31, 1916. By present day terms those funds are estimated to have been more than 5 million dollars. The only income he received from his writings, publications and the Society was a living allowance of $11 per month. He left no personal estate.
Pastor Russell’s Will and Testament
“Having at various times during past years donated to the Watch Tower Bible And Tract Society all of my personal possessions except a small personal bank account of approximately two hundred dollars, in the Exchange National Bank of Pittsburgh... I have merely love and Christian good wishes to leave to all of the dear members of the Bible House Family — and all other dear co-laborers in the harvest work—yea, for the entire household of faith in every place who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer.
“However, in view of the fact that in donating the journal, Zion’s Watch Tower, the Old Theology Quarterly and the copyrights of the Millennial Dawn Scripture Studies Books and various other booklets, hymn-books, etc., to the Watch Tower Bible And Tract Society, I did so with the explicit understanding that I should have full control of all the interests of these publications during my life time....”
Although Pastor Charles Taze Russell is listed as founder of The Jehovah’s Witnesses by newspapers, history books and encyclopedias all over the world; it is plainly not true. A conflict ensued among the leaders after the Pastor’s death and the person or people who finally won the battle coined the name Jehovah’s Witnesses for the surviving organization. The name change of The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society occurred some 12 to 14 years after their true leader, That Servant had died.
This led to a Little Babylon on the order of The Great Babylon that developed after Christ and the Apostles died. -------------------------------
February 16, 1852
Pastor Russell’s Birthday
Through honor and dishonor, through evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed.—2 Cor 6:8,3
WHILE in the discharge of duty to the best of our ability and when apparently we have the Lord’s blessing and favor upon us and our affairs in a most marked degree, suddenly trouble may arise, adversity come, the powers of darkness seem to triumph, and for a moment we may be apparently culprits in the judgment of our fellowmen, and apparently forsaken by divine providence. Such experiences, doubtless, are needful to us; for though we may sing:—
“I would rather walk in the dark with God, Than go alone in the light,”
“Yet this might be but an empty boast unless we were put through the trying experiences which would develop such faith, such trust, as would hold to the Lord’s hand, and trust divine providence in the darkest hour.—Z.’01-314; R 2886:3
“The Christian life is one of contrasted experiences the Christian must keep himself in the love of God and in the hatred of selfishness. No amount of love, honor or praise should sway him from Loyalty to God.”