present further history of That Servant’s struggle for the Truth about the time
of our Lord’s return. We had described Mr. Barbour’s denial of the Ransom; and
we now give more detail about that.
“I was astonished, believing Mr. Barbour had a clearer understanding of the work of Christ, as our sin offering, our willing Redeemer, who gladly cooperating in the Divine Plan, gave Himself as the RANSOM or corresponding price to meet the penalty of Adam, in order that Adam and all his posterity might in due time go free from sin and death. A totally different thing indeed was the willing, intelligent, loving offering of our Redeemer, according to the plan devised and revealed by the infinite wisdom, from the miserable caricature of it offered in the above illustration. I had either given Mr. Barbour credit for clearer views than he had ever had, or else he was deliberately taking off and casting away the ‘wedding garment’ of Christ’s righteousness; the latter was the only conclusion left, for he afterward stated that he had previously recognized the death of Christ as man’s ransom price.”
Here it may be well to elaborate that the Ransom controversy was the first evil error at the beginning of the Harvest; and it is now being repeated by the Jehovah’s Witnesses ─ a1though not in the same flagrant fashion as did Mr. Barbour. Their present denial is an indirect perversion of the Ransom doctrine. Christ is now not a “ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6); He is now the destroyer of all who do not accept the errors of the Witnesses, no longer a Ransom for Adam, no longer a Ransom for those who crucified Him. In Luke 23:34 there are these words in the King James Version: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is a spurious passage, not found in any of the oldest manuscripts; but JFR gave this spurious text a real twist to “prove” his error: “Father forgive them not, for they know what they do.”
Continuing with Brother Russell’s analysis: “Immediately I wrote an article for the Herald in contradiction of the error, showing the necessity that one die for all ─ the just for the unjust; that Christ fulfilled all this as it has been written; and that consequently God could be just and forgive and release the sinner from the penalty He had justly imposed. I also wrote to Mr. Paton, calling attention to the fundamental character of the doctrine assailed, and pointing out how the time and circumstances all correspond with the parable of the one who took off the wedding garment when just about to partake of the wedding supper. He replied that he had not seen the ransom feature in so strong a light before; that Mr. Barbour had a strong, dogmatic way of putting things, which had for the time overbalanced him. I urged that, seeing now the importance of the doctrine of the Ransom he also write an article for the Herald, which, in no uncertain tone, would give also his witness for the precious blood of Christ. This he did. These articles appeared in the issues of the Herald for July to December, 1878.
“It now became clear to me that the Lord would no longer have me assist financially, or to be in any way identified with, anything which cast any influence in opposition to the fundamental principle of our holy Christian religion; and I, therefore, after a more careful though unavailing effort to reclaim the erring, withdrew entirely from the Herald of the Morning, and from further fellowship with Mr. Barbour. But a mere withdrawal I felt was not sufficient to show my continued loyalty to our Lord and Redeemer, whose cause had thus been violently assailed by one in a position to lead the sheep astray ─ and in that position, too, very largely by my individual assistance and encouragement when I believed him to be, in all sincerity, true to the Lord. I, therefore, understood it to be the Lord’s will that I should start another journal in which the standard of the cross should be lifted high, the doctrine of the Ransom defended, and the good tidings of great joy should be proclaimed as extensively as possible.
“Acting upon this leading of the Lord, I gave up traveling, and in July 1879 the first number of Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence made its appearance. From the first it has been a special advocate of the ‘Ransom for all’ and by the grace of God, we hope this will ever be so.
“For a time we had a most painful experience: The readers of the Tower and of the Herald were the same, and from the time the former started and the supply of funds from this quarter for the Herald ceased, Mr. Barbour not only withdrew from the bank the money deposited by me and treated all he had in his possession as his own, but poured upon the Editor of the Tower the vilest of personal abuse in order to prevent the Tower and the doctrine of the Ransom from having due influence upon its readers. This, of course, caused a division, as such things always do. The personal abuse being regarded by some as true, had its intended effect of biasing the judgments of many on the subject of the Ransom; and many turned from us.
“But the Lord continued His favor, which I esteem of more value than the favor of the whole world. It was at this time that Mr. Adams espoused the views of Mr. Barbour, and likewise forsook the doctrine of the Ransom. And true to our interpretation of the parable of the Wedding Garment, as given at the time, Mr. Barbour and Mr. Adams, having cast off the wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness, went out of the light into the outer darkness of the world on the subject once so clearly seen ─ namely, the time and manner of our Lord’s presence, and since then they have been expecting Christ in the flesh every Spring or Fall, and twisting the prophecies accordingly.
“During part of this ordeal, or we might truly call it, battle, we had the earnest cooperation of Mr. Paton, who, up to the Summer of 1881 was an appreciated co-laborer and defendant of the doctrine of coming blessings through Christ, based upon the ‘Ransom for all’ given at Calvary. The book, The Three Worlds, having been for sometime out of print, it seemed as if another edition of that, or else a new book covering the same features, should be gotten out. Mr. Paton agreed to get it ready for the press, and Mr. Jones offered to pay all the expenses incident to its printing and binding and to give Mr. Paton as many copies of the book as he could sell, as remuneration for his time spent in preparing the matter, provided I would agree to advertise it libera11y and gratuitously in The Tower ─ well knowing that there would be demand for it if I should recommend it, and that his outlay would be sure to return with a profit. I not only agreed to do this, but contributed to Mr. Paton’s personal expense in connection with the publishing, as well as paid part of the printer’s bill at his solicitation.
THE DAY DAWN
“In the end, I alone was at any financial loss in connection with the book called Day Dawn; the writer and publisher both being gainers financially, while I did all the introducing by repeated advertisements. We need to give these particulars because of certain one-sided and only partial statements of facts and misrepresentations, which have recently been published and circulated in tract form by Mr. Paton, who is also now an advocate of that ‘other gospel’ of which the cross of Christ is not the center, and which denies that He ‘bought us with His own precious blood.’ Mr. Paton has since published another book, which though called by the same name, as the one we introduced, being on another false foundation, I cannot recommend, but which I consider misleading sophistry, tending to undermine the whole structure of the Christian system, yet retaining a sufficiency of Truths which we once held in common to make it palatable and dangerous to all not rooted and grounded upon the Ransom rock.
“The false foundation which it presents is the old heathen doctrine of evolution revamped, which not only denies the fall of man, but as a consequence, all necessity for a redeemer. It claims, on the contrary, that not by redemption and restitution to a lost estate, but by progressive evolution or development man has risen and is still to rise from the lower condition in which he was created until, by his own good works, he ultimate1y reaches the Divine Nature. It claims that our Lord Himself was a degraded and imperfect man, whose work on earth was to crucify a carnal nature, which, it claims He possessed; and thus to show all men how to crucify their carnal or sinful propensities.
“And here, we remark, that the darkness and degradation which came upon the world in its fallen, cast-off condition, and which was only intensified by Papacy’s priest-craft during the Dark Ages, when contrasted with the light of intelligence, which God is now letting in on the world, have gradually led men to esteem present intelligence as merely a part of a process of evolution. This view, though quite incorrect, is, nevertheless, the occasion of the predicted great falling away from the faith of the Bib1e during the Harvest period. And few Christian people seem to be well enough grounded in the truth to be able to withstand this trial of the evil day, in which many will fall away, while only the few will stand. For this cause we use plainness of speech.
“The little history of the way in which Mr. Paton came to turn from us and from the Ransom, to oppose that which he once clearly saw and advocated, is important, as it became the occasion for another sifting or testing of the Watch Tower readers, by that time a greater number; because Mr. Paton had been a respected brother and coworker with us, and because as a traveling representative of the Watch Tower and its doctrines, his expenses being met in part by subscriptions and renewals, as well as by money from me, he was personally known to a larger number of the readers than was the Editor of the Tower.
“In the year 1881, Mr. Barbour still publishing the Herald and still endeavoring to overthrow the Doctrine of the Ransom, finding that on a preaching tour I had used the diagram of the Tabernacle to illustrate how Christ’s sacrifice was typified in the sacrifices of the typical Israels, wrote an article on the Atonement, in which he undertook to show that the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement typified almost anything else than what they do typify. I cou1d readi1y see through the fallacy of his presentations, which made of the bullock a type of one thing in one verse and of another thing in each verse in which it was mentioned; and so, too, with the goat. But I well knew that the people in general are not close reasoners and that, with the cares of life upon them, they are too apt to accept a seeming interpretation without a critical examination of the words of the Scripture and the context.
STRUGGLING FOR LIGHT ─ “I thought the matter over. I examined the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus, but while seeing the inconsistency and error of Mr. Barbour’s interpretation, I could only confess that I did not understand it and could not give a connected interpretation, which fit all the details so plainly stated, and all of which must have a particular meaning. What could I do? Those reading the Hera1d as well as the Tower would probably be misled, if not helped out of the difficulty; and to merely say that the Herald’s interpretation was inconsistent with itself and, therefore, a misinterpretation would be misunderstood. Many would suppose I opposed that view from a spirit of rivalry; for there are always people with whom everything resolves itself into personality, rivalry and party spirit; and such cannot understand others who take a higher and nobler view and who think always and only of the truth, regardless of persons.
“I went to the Lord with this, as with every trial, and told Him just how it seemed to me, how anxious I felt for His dear sheep, who, having their appetites sharpened by some truth, were by their very hunger exposed to Satan’s deceptions. I told Him I realized that He is the Shepherd, and not I, but that I knew also that He would be pleased at my interest in the sheep and my desire to be His mouthpiece to declare the truth, the way and the life to them; that I felt deeply impressed that if the time had come for the permission of false views to deceive the unworthy, it must also be His due time to have the truth on the subject made clear, that the worthy ones might be enabled to stand and not fall from the truth. Believing that the due time had come for the correct understanding of the Jewish sacrifices, which, in a general way all Christians concede were typical of ‘better sacrifices’; and that the Lord, therefore, would grant the insight as soon as I got into the attitude of heart and mind best suited to receive the light. I prayed with confidence that if His due time had come, and if He were willing to use me as His instrument to declare the message to His dear family, that I might be able to rid my heart and mind of any prejudice that might stand in the way and be led of His spirit into the proper understanding of the truth.
SHADOWS OF THE TABERNACLE REVEALED
“Believing that the Lord wou1d answer my prayer affirmatively, I went into my study the next morning prepared to study and to write. The forenoon I spent in scrutinizing the text and every other Scripture likely to shed light upon it, especially the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in looking to the Lord for wisdom and guidance; but no solution of the difficult passages. The afternoon and evening were similarly spent, and all the next day. Everything else was neglected, and I wondered why the Lord had kept me so long; but on the third day, near noon, the whole matter came to me as clear as the noonday sun, so clear and convincing and so harmonious with the whole tenor of the Scriptures that I could not question its correctness; and no one has ever yet been able to find a flaw in it. This has been published in several editions in booklet form under the title, Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices. [Some able brethren have described this booklet as “the biggest 1ittle book they have ever seen.”]
“Then I knew why the Lord had led me so slowly and cautiously. I needed a specia1 preparation of heart for the full appreciation of all it contained; and I was all the more sure it was not of my own wisdom; for if of my own, why had it not come at once.
“I found that the understanding of that subject was bound to have a wide influence upon all our hopes and views of all truth, not that it overlooked old truths or contradicted them, but, on the contrary, set them all in order and harmony and straightened out little knots and twists. For instance, the doctrine of Justification by Faith had always been more or less confused in my mind, as it is in every mind, with the doctrine of Sanctification, which ca1ls for sacrifice and works. This was all made c1ear and plain at once; for the types showed that we all, as sinners, needed first of all, Christ’s ransom sacrifice, that we appropriate its merits (justification which God grants) to ourselves by faith, that thus we are justified ─ reckoned free from sin. The type showed, too, that it is only after being thus cleansed in God’s sight ─ by an acceptance of Christ’s finished work as our ransom-sacrifice ─ that God is willing to accept us as joint-sacrificers with Christ, so that if faithful unto death, we should be granted the favor of joint heirship with Him. [Here is given us a clear proof of “tentative justification.”]
“Here I first saw that the great privilege of becoming joint-heirs with Christ and partakers with Him of the Divine Nature was confined exclusively to those who would share with Him in self-sacrifice in the service of the Truth. And here, too, I saw for the first time that our Lord was the first of these sacrifices in the sin offering, consequently, that none of God's servants, the prophets, who 1ived and died before Christ, were priests after this order, nor sharers in sacrifice with Him, even though some of them were stoned, others sawn asunder, and others slain with the sword, for the cause of God; that though they wou1d receive a good and great reward, they would belong to a separate class and order from those called to sacrifice and joint-heirship with Christ on and since Pentecost.
“Here, too, I saw that the ‘acceptable day of the Lord’ signifies this Gospel Age ─ the time during which He will accept the sacrifice of any who come unto God through Christ, the Great Sin-Offering; that when this ‘acceptable day’ ends, the reward of joint-heir-ship with Christ and prospect of change to the Divine nature ends. And when this great day of sacrifice, the Gospel Age, the real Day of Atonement, has closed, when all the members of the Body of Christ have participated with Him in the sacrifice of their rights as justified men, and been glorified, then the blessings will begin to come to the world ─ the Millennial blessings purchased for men by their Redeemer, according to the grace of God.
DISTINCTIONS IN NATURE RECOGNIZED
“This first brought a clear recognition of the distinction in natures: of what constitutes human nature; what constitutes the Divine Nature. (See Volume l, Chapter 10) And whereas we formerly used the term Restitution in a general way to mean some sort of blessed change; but now, under the clearer light, we began to see that the great work of restitution could only mean what the word implies, a restoration of that which was lost, a restoration of the original condition from which man fell.
“Then I saw that God’s plan, when carried out, would NOT bring all His creatures to the one level of the Divine Nature, but that He purposed to have an order of creatures called angels, who, though perfect, would always be of a different order, or nature, from the Divine nature; and He likewise purposed to have a race of beings of the human nature of whom Adam was a sample or pattern, and whose future earthly home, Paradise, Eden, was a sample or pattern. I also saw that God purposed that Christ and His joint-sacrificers and joint-heirs are to be God’s instrument for blessing the fallen race and restoring them to the condition of perfection enjoyed by Adam, a condition which God said was ‘very good,’ and an image of Himself.
“And these joint-heirs with Christ, I saw were to be highly exalted to a nature higher than restored and perfected mankind, higher, too, than the angelic nature; even to be partakers of the Divine Nature. When all these things so unexpectedly shone out so brightly and clearly, I did not wonder that the Lord gave me several days of waiting and preparation for the blessing, and to Him I rendered praise and thanks. All my faintness of heart and fear of the bad effects of the wrong view fled before this evidence of the Lord’s leadings in the pathway that ‘shines more and more unto the perfect day.’ I saw at once that these new developments would probably prove a stumbling-block to some, as well as a great blessing to others who were ready for them. Instead, therefore, of publishing this in the next Tower, I determined to present the matter privately to the more prominent brethren, remembering Saint Paul’s course in a similar matter as recorded in Galatians 2:2.
“Accordingly, I sent invitations and the money necessary for traveling expenses to four of the more prominent brethren, requesting a conference. Mr. Paton, of Michigan, was one of the four, and the only one who rejected the first rays of light. Nor could he find any flaw with the exegesis, though urged, as all were, to state anything which might seem inconsistent, or quote any passages of Scripture thought to be in conflict. But there was none; and every question more fully demonstrated the strength of the position.
ADVANCING L1GHT REJECTED
“I, therefore, urged that that which was beyond the criticism of those most familiar with the Plan of God, must be the truth, and ought to be confessed and taught at any cost, and especially when it arranged and ordered all the other features of the truth so beautifully. I pointed out, too, how necessary it is to a logical holding of the Ransom, to see first what this showed; namely, the distinction of natures; that our Lord left a higher nature and took a lower nature, when He was made flesh, and that the object in that change of nature was, that He might, as a man, a perfect man give Himself as a Ransom for the first perfect man, Adam, and thus redeem Adam, and all lost in him.
“I also showed how, as a reward for this great work, He was given the Divine Nature in His resurrection, a nature that is still higher than the glorious one He had left, when He became a man. But either Mr. Paton’s mental vision or heart was weak, for he never took the step; and before long he, too, forsook the doctrine of the Ransom. Yet he still used the word Ransom, while denying the idea conveyed by the word; nor can he give the word any other definition, or otherwise dispute the correctness of the meaning which I attach to it, and which may be found in any English dictionary, and it is true to the significance of the Greek word which it translates, anti-lutron, a price to correspond.
“Notwithstanding our best endeavors to save him, he drifted further and further away, until I was obliged to refuse his articles for the Tower, for the same reason that obliged me to longer refuse to spend the Lord’s money entrusted to me to assist Mr. Barbour, to spread the same pernicious theory.
“It was about this time that Mr. Jones informed me that the copies of the book, Day Dawn, which I had purchased, were all that were left; and, announcing it so that no more orders might come in for it to the Tower office, I took occasion to promise Millennial Dawn, which should present the Plan of the Ages in the clearer, more orderly way made possible by the new light shed upon every feature of it by the lessons from the Tabernacle. About this time Mr. Paton decided to publish another book under the name Day-Dawn, revised to harmonize with his changed views, which ignored the Ransom, ignored Justification, and the need of either, and taught that all men will be everlastingly saved; not in any sense as a result of any sacrifice for their sins by Christ, but as the result of each one’s crucifying sin in himself ─ the law under which the Jews tried to commend themselves to God, but which justified none. Many and severe were the calumnies heaped upon me, because I exposed this change, told that the original book was out of print and the new book was on a different foundation from the book of the same name, which I had commended.
“During this time I was busied by an immense work known to many of you: the issue and circulation of over 1,400,000 copies of the two booklets, entitled Food For Thinking Christians and Tabernacle Teachings, whose united matter was about the same as that of Dawn, Volume 1. Besides this I was flooded with thousands of joyous and joy-giving letters, from those who had received and were reading the booklets thus distributed, and asking questions, and for more reading matter. To add to our throng, financial complications came; and thus for four years I was hindered from fulfilling my promise of Millennial Dawn.
SEVENTH VOLUME PROMISED
“Nor is our promise of the complete set yet fulfilled; for although six volumes are now (1910) issued, a Seventh on Revelation and Ezekiel is still future ─ delayed by the growth of the general work, doubtless in accord with the Lord’s ‘due time.’ But during those four years I struggled through an immense amount of labor and many drawbacks; but all cheerfully undergone for the sake of the Lord and His Saints, each year hoping to be able to gather the necessary hours to complete the first volume of Millennial Dawn.
“Some who may have the Three Worlds or the old edition of Day Dawn would perhaps like to know my present view of them, whether I still think them suitable books to loan to truth-seekers. To this I reply, Certainly not! Because of the very immature views of God’s truth therein presented fall far short of what we now see to be God’s wonderful plan. Things which are now as clear as noonday were then cloudy and mixed. The distinctions between the perfect human nature, to which the obedient of the world will be restored during the Mil1ennial Age, and the Divine Nature to which the Little Flock, the sacrificing elect of the Gospel Age, are soon to be exalted, were then unnoticed. All that is now so clear was then blurred, mixed and indistinct. Neither had we then seen the steps of planes now shown upon the Chart of the Ages, which have assisted so many to distinguish between Justification and Sanctification and to determine their present standing and relationship to God.
“Once I was much less careful about what I circulated or commended, but I am now learning every day to be more careful as to what sort of food I put before any of the Lord’s hungry sheep. The Lord has taught me that it is a responsible matter to be a teacher. Even Food For Thinking Christians, now also out of print, I no longer commend, because it is less systematic and therefore less clear than later publications.”
Much more could be added, but we believe it is sufficient for all who are “of the Truth” to realize Brother Russell was indeed That Wise and Faithful Servant of Matthew 24:45-47 whom the Lord gave the honor of presenting the Plan of the Ages in all its purity, as a Key to the correct understanding of the Bible. As we wrote the foregoing concerning That Servant we were vividly reminded of the account of St. Paul: “In perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness.” (2 Cor. 11:26,27) In the beginning of his ministry he was confronted with a mountain of the most pernicious error, which he successfully met through much exhaustion and prayer. It is probably impossible for us now to appreciate fully the great work that this man of God accomplished; and we say once more with enthusiasm: God bless his memory!
(Brother John J. Hoefle, Reprint 328, October 1982)
ARMAGEDDON ─The Watchtower of April 1, 2008 has an article on this subject and as usual they are fantasizing. One paragraph says this:
“Historical Megiddo suggests a cornered condition, or situation, with no escape for the enemies of God. Thus, at Armageddon, God will make certain that all corruption and wickedness, no matter where it may be found on this globe, is crushed out of existence. ─ Revelation 21:8”
But it will be Anarchy, not Armageddon that will crush the world at the end of this Age. In fact there will probably be a lull of reasonable peace between Armageddon and Anarchy. However, the Scripture Revelation 21:8 does not even apply to this Age. It is a Millennial Kingdom picture, not of the Bride Class. Verse 7 says they will “inherit all things,” ─ the earthly Kingdom, just as the overcomers of the Gospel Age inherit spiritual things. Then verse 8 goes on to say that the fearful, unbelieving, murderers, sorcerers, etc. will have part in the lake of fire ─ Greek, Gehenna, symbol of utter destruction. Thus is shown that it is the time of judging individuals. So at the end of the Millennial Age is the time that “all wickedness will be crushed out of existence,” not in Armageddon at the end of this Age.
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION ─ What is implied by Simeon’s words, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the gentiles [heathen] and the glory of thy people Israel?” (Luke 2:30-32)
ANSWER ─ Jesus is not only to be the glory of Israel, but the light of the world ─ eventually, he shall lighten every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). As to Israel ─ What Israel is here meant? is probably your inquiry. We reply, (1) Christ is the glory of the Church, the true Israel of God (Rom. 11:7); and (2) he will be the glory of fleshly or natural Israel when their eyes are opened and they are received by him under the New Covenant. Earthly Israel (under Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets) shall then as the agents and representatives of the heavenly Zion become a blessing and a praise in the whole earth ─ as the earthly representatives of the spiritual Kingdom of Christ.
(Pastor Russell, Reprints 2125, 2126, April 1, 1897)
O love, our refuge in earth’s wildest storm!
O service, life-breath of a heart that’s warm!
A dual-unity, of heaven born;
For love is service in its highest form.
Flame-tints that shimmer on the desert air!
Love-lights that make Life’s sands a garden fair,
Where joy and pain sing softly to the soul,
That God in man is Love in human care.