Once again the time of year comes that we are vividly reminded of the demise of the Parousia and Epiphany Messengers, and it is our fond hope that our readers will obtain some good information and uplift from what we now present.
Up to his death on October 31, 1916, almost everyone in “present truth” was fully persuaded that Brother Russell was “that servant” of Matthew 24:46; and quite a few still hold that opinion, among whom we include ourselves. During the Dark Ages the doctrine of “restitution” (Acts 3:19-21) had become completely lost, and this lapse injected utter confusion into the Christian fraternity. Without understanding restitution, it was impossible to produce any harmonious understanding of the general Bible structure; the “plan of the Ages” (Eph. 3:11, Dia.) was a meaningless expression. The woman having ten pieces of silver of Luke 15:8 corroborates the fact that the doctrine of restitution was lost. (See Berean Comments on Luke 15:8,9.)
This problem gave extreme difficulty to That Servant, so much so that he on a certain occasion betook himself to three days of intense prayer and study, at the end of which he was rewarded with a clear understanding of the Atonement Day sacrifices as they are outlined in the 16th Chapter of Leviticus. This enlightenment caused him to realize that God was during this Gospel Age merely laying the foundation for the full at-one-ment of the entire human race with Himself “in due time” ─ the delay being caused by God now taking from among the Gentiles “a people for His name” (Acts 15:14), the same to be associated with His Son Jesus as His Heavenly Bride to give the human family a rebirth under a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:13), in direct contrast to the degradation now prevailing in “this present evil world.” (Gal. 1:4)
However, the radical revelation of this understanding actually frightened him; it was actually difficult for him to believe this Scripture which seemed so logical and with which he could find no fault. He needed to be doubly persuaded that it was actually the truth, so instead of broadcasting his findings immediately or telling the general Household of Faith about it, he summoned leading brethren to discuss this revelation, which he and they did during a period of eight days. When none of them could find any flaws in the picture, he eventually wrote a small book called Tabernacle Shadows, which some of his ardent admirers have characterized as the biggest “little book” that has ever been written. No one with a clear understanding of that book will ever be confused on the “plan of the ages.”
THE PAROUSIA ELEAZAR
Eleazar was Aaron's eldest son and in line to become High Priest in Israel at his father's death. But while serving as underpriest with his father, he was given very prominent service, as can be seen from Numbers 4:16: “And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.” From certain standpoints the Tabernacle typified the Gospel-Age Church. Therefore, those people who officiated in connection with it would also typify certain people in the Gospel Age. Considering the sweeping powers that Eleazar possessed, “the oversight of all the tabernacle,” it puts no strain upon the imagination to recognize that he typified the twelve Apostles at the First Advent. “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” (Matt. 16:19)
Similar language is used concerning Brother Russell: “Shall make him ruler over all His goods.” (Matt. 24:47) And in Luke 12:42: “That faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over His household, to give them their portion of meat in due season.” From this we do not wish to convey the thought that Brother Russell was infallible, or spoke by inspiration, as did the Apostles; but it is a self-evident fact that his power over the Harvest work and the Harvest Church was well nigh absolute. In course of time he recognized this; he appointed and dismissed Pilgrims as his judgment dictated; he was final authority on all Bible House matters, and made all appointments of brethren to important executive positions. And being fully aware of this, he attempted to arrange things in such a manner that after his death would prevent any other individual from “stepping into his shoes,” as it were, by appointing an editorial committee of seven brethren to supervise the Watch Tower publication. Those familiar with the situation know that his wishes were speedily ignored; in little more than a year, J. F. Rutherford had already enthroned himself “in Moses' seat.”
However, it is not our wish to offer detail on the above statement; rather, we shall treat of the Gospel Harvest Eleazar from the standpoint of the type. In Numbers 4:16 six executive and teaching functions are set forth, of which the first “pertaineth to the oil for the light,” the lampstand. Among other things, oil represents the spirit of understanding (Matt. 25:3, “the spirit of the Truth,” Berean Comment). For Eleazar, therefore, to have charge of the oil for the lampstand would typify the privilege Brother Russell had of understanding the Truth as Pastor and Teacher, not only for himself, but also for the brethren as enlighteners of one another, as he conveyed his Biblical interpretations to them, giving them helps to learn and to teach the Truth. He did this orally and in writing. He gave clear and specific instructions for organizing classes, and for organizing distribution of the Truth literature to the general public.
Eleazar's second duty had to do with “the sweet incense.” The unburnt sweet incense represented the actually perfect choice human powers of Jesus and the reckonedly perfect choice human powers of the Church; “much incense with the prayers of all saints” (Rev. 8:3,4). Brother Russell offered deep and truthful detail on such activities of Jesus from Jordan to Calvary, and on the Church in general in their earthly pilgrimage all during the Gospel Age. As to the Church of his day, he acted directly both as the teacher and executive with respect to the sweet incense. He clearly explained Justification by faith through Jesus' merit, which justification once fully obtained enabled such brethren to make their own offering of “the sweet incense” according to the providential circumstances of each one. We have been told that on one occasion, when Brother Russell was visiting a city, that a brother asked him to give his talk that morning on justification, which he proceeded to do, giving lucid analysis of the subject for an entire hour.
Thirdly, Eleazar had charge of “the daily meat offering,” or, more properly, the meal offering. When the drink offering is not mentioned (and it is omitted in Num. 4:16) it is understood as being included in the meal offering. This offering represents that part of the sacrifice with which the offerer occupies himself, such as setting forth the Truth, lecturing and preaching on the Truth by Pilgrims, Auxiliary Pilgrims, elders, colporteurs and unofficial persons of lesser ability. It also included oral conversation in testimony of the Truth, serving in the Photo-drama work, serving as laborers of the Bible House and Bethel, doing office and home work in connection with spread of the Truth, and encouraging and supporting others in these various works orally, with the printed page, by lectures, sermons, question meetings, conversation and letter writing. As executive he discharged this phase of his office by arranging for the various forms of service mentioned herein for spreading the Truth, as well as appointing specific persons to their pertinent positions as pilgrims, colporteurs, department supervisors, etc., at Bethel and the Bible House. The fulfilled facts attest that he exercised his authority in all of these features.
Fourthly, Eleazar had the care of the anointing oil. This oil types the Holy Spirit from the standpoint of its qualifying the elect Church to serve each other. The ingredients of this oil are succinctly stated in Isaiah 11:2, the contents of which may be stated thusly: the qualities of wisdom, justice, love and power each developed individually, developed in balance with others, with all of them controlling all other qualities (2 Peter 1:5-8), thus qualifying the various members of the Church for the “work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:12), to the extent of their ability and providential circumstances.
As antitypical Eleazar of the Gospel Harvest. his charge as teacher was to instruct the Church as to the nature of the anointing, of the anointed class, of their duties, privileges in knowledge, service, development, endurance as "good soldiers," etc. This he did in great detail in the Volumes, the Towers, and by his oral ministry. Especially did he stress the development of the graces, the quickening, development, and balancing of the Holy Spirit. It logically followed that he would appoint qualified persons to the respective forms of service as pilgrims, colporteurs, photo-drama workers, Bible House and Bethel personnel, managers of the foreign branches and news-paper workers. Inasmuch as the great majority of classes had elected him as their pastor, he had supervisory capacity in their affairs. Sometimes he acted directly and sometimes indirectly in electing or unseating the officers of those classes, endorsing those qualified, and rejecting those he considered unqualified. All of this he did in efficient and impressive manner.
Fifthly, Eleazar had charge of the Tabernacle itself. The whole structure while it was standing was under his supervision. The Tabernacle proper in the Holy types the Church in its earthly ministry, and in the Most Holy in its heavenly inheritance. The humanity of such is typed in the Court, specifically with respect to the brazen altar. This typed the Harvest Eleazar's capacity as Pastor and Teacher, with executive supervision of the Church during the reaping and gleaning time up to the time of his death. He also had similar authority over the antitypical Court, which contained the tentatively justified. Thus, he was the eye, hand and mouth of Jesus during his entire office as That Servant. While it is true that he did not produce all the advancing Truth during his ministry, he did produce much more of it than any other person. And. in that which others saw, they were obligated to secure his approval of it before he presented it to the general Church through the Towers. His authority in this respect was also well nigh absolute.
Sixthly, he had full charge of the holy furniture of the Court, Holy and Most Holy ─ “the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is.” This would include the two altars, the laver, the lampstand, the table and the ark, all of which was in the charge of antitypical Eleazar. The antitypical brazen altar in the Court represented the Church's humanity in sacrifice; and Brother Russell gave great detail concerning this ─ the privileges of the brethren in using their human all whenever and wherever opportunity afforded. This he did orally and in writing, and by his “example of the believers.” (1 Tim. 4:12) Thus he encouraged and directed the general Church as a “good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:3)
His teaching charge to the Church concerning the golden altar in the Holy had to do with encouraging, comforting, strengthening, correcting, warning, and restraining the sacrificing and suffering Church, which he did by explaining, proving, and illustrating the privileges of the Church toward one another. His executive charge toward the Church was accomplished by his encouraging and directing the Church in such work.
As our readers know, the laver in the Court types the Bible ─ the base the Old Testament, and the upper part containing the water the New Testament, the upper part built upon and growing out of the lower part. The water in the upper part types the cleansing features of Bible truths. The Harvest Eleazar's executive charge of the antitypical laver means that the Bible was placed in his care ─ to preserve it, to commend it, and make it influential in its use for its Divinely intended purpose of furnishing the proper doctrinal, refutative, correctional and ethical teachings, and to direct the use of pertinent Scriptures to his purpose (2 Tim. 3:15-17). His teaching charge of the antitypical Laver implied that he was to declare the doctrine of the Scripture, as well as its teachings in doctrinal, refutational, correctional and ethical respects. Certainly those of us who are familiar with his work know that he harmonized the Bible in a manner equaled by none other since the days of the Apostles.
Here we may properly apply this statement to an error that has circulated among some of the Lord's people to the effect that there are other books such as Pseudepigraphs, like the book of Enoch, the Old Testament Apocrypha, etc., that are inspired writings; thus, a part of the Bible. If they were, Brother Russell would have accepted them as a part of the Bible; and he would wisely and faithfully have shown his teaching and executive functions toward them. But he resolutely rejected them, and it is not difficult for any one who reads them carefully to note their inferiority when compared with the 66 genuine books of the Bible.
The lampstand represents the Church as enlighteners of each other; it teaches them the Truth. Brother Russell acted out his office as teacher with respect to the antitypical lamp-stand in that he explained the nature, the character, privileges, duties, etc., of the Church as enlighteners of each other, and how to go about this good work. He also encouraged them to enlighten each other by providing the means whereby they could do this, and the best method to use in doing it. The table of shewbread types the Church in its capacity of strengthening its members with the bread of life unto every good word and work; especially so, with respect to the Sarah features of the Abrahamic Covenant, this being the promises that mother the Church in its earthly pilgrimage toward the Heavenly Canaan, their entrance into the Most Holy when their work on earth is finished. Having charge of this table and bread means he taught the brethren the best means of strengthening each other to “fight the good fight,” and to gain eternal life. He also arranged for conventions and organized meetings in the various classes for this purpose.
Much more could be said about the foregoing, but we would not wish our readers to conclude that we be overmuch given to “angel worship.” However, we consider it pertinent to stress here that certain members of the Gospel-Age Church occupied positions which could apply to them alone. For instance, there were twelve Apostles, and only twelve; thus, they had no successors; as some of the sects contend; prominent among such is the Roman Catholic Church. And with Brother Russell it may be stated with equal emphasis that his office as That Servant and as the Steward was unique to him alone; and the words which Jesus spoke concerning Himself may well be repeated for him: “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” (John 17:4) Therefore, he had no successor; he supervised with full authority and finished the reaping feature of the Gospel-Age Harvest, which provided everlasting tribute to him as antitypical Eleazar here in the end of the Age. We would qualify this, however, by noting that God did provide other faithful “stars” after the Apostles died; and continued to do this all during the Age, as He also did after the demise of antitypical Eleazar.
SOME SECULAR TESTIMONY
It has just recently come to our attention that one authority offers the following comment: “RUSSELL, CHARLES TAZE, popularly called Pastor Russell (born Feb. 16, 1852, Pittsburgh, Pa. ─ died Oct. 31, 1916, Pampa, Texas), founder of the International Bible Students Association, forerunner of Jehovah's Witnesses. [The International Bible Students Association was taken over by the Jehovah’s Witnesses after Pastor Russell’s death.] Of Presbyterian and Congregational background, Russell renounced the creed of orthodox Christian denominations and in 1872 organized an independent Bible study class in Pittsburgh. From 1877 he preached that Christ's second advent would be invisible, and that the end of the Gentile times would come in 1914, followed by war between capitalism and communism or socialism, after which God's Kingdom by Christ would rule the whole earth. Russell (who was never ordained) dedicated his life and his considerable fortune to preaching Christ's Millennial reign. In 1879 he started a Bible journal later called the Watchtower, and in 1884 founded the Watch-tower Bible & Tract Society, which became a flourishing publishing business. His own books and booklets (notably six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures) reached a circula-tion of 16,000,000 copies in 35 languages, and 2,000 newspapers published his weekly sermons.”
By way of comparison and marked contrast, this same publication says this regarding JFR: “RUTHERFORD, JOSEPH FRANKLIN, nicknamed Judge (1869-1942), religious leader and author, president of Jehovah's Witnesses (also called the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society), 1916-42.”
The statement before the last paragraph concerning Brother Russell is so strikingly accurate that it sounds as though he himself had written it. From a purely secular stand-point, we would say it is an excellent testimonial; and, as more of his prophetic interpretations are fulfilled, we are fully persuaded that even better tributes will be forthcoming from similar writers. As Brother Johnson has so aptly written of him, Brother Russell will yet appear in the records of men as one of the greatest of reformers and Biblical logicians.
The same publication states further: “Joseph Franklin Rutherford that he was a lawyer who had been closely associated with Russell since about 1910. But he possessed little of the personal magic that Russell had wielded with such success, and, in addition, challenged some of Russell's views... A number of small schisms resulted, but Rutherford eventually was successful in organizing the work of the Society so that the transition to his successor in 1942 was made without difficulty. Almost nothing is known about the life of J.F. Rutherford. He shunned publicity and toward the end of his life met with members of the Society only at their annual conventions. Russell had written a good deal, and his seven-volume [?] Studies in the Scriptures was widely sold; but it was under Rutherford that the Society work took on its present character of a publishing house rather than a church. Rutherford claimed to have written 99 books and pamphlets, which appeared in more than 300,000,000 copies.”
When the above publication states that Rutherford “challenged some of Russell's views,” it is making a major understatement; and the same may be said about the “number of small schisms that resulted.” Those of us familiar with the truth on the subject know that Rutherford challenged the majority of important doctrines in the truth structure taught by Brother Russell, so that at this time there is little resemblance between the teachings of the two men.
The publication states further that Jehovah's Witnesses, along with Christian Science and Mormonism, constitute the three largest and most significant variants of the 19th-century American Protestantism. The Witnesses now have in excess of 16,000,000 in their world membership. However, when we consider that Rutherford is catalogued in the same group with Brigham Young and Mary Baker Eddy it presents some considerable light on why he “possessed little of the personal magic that Russell had wielded with such success.” We have been told that Rutherford on one occasion went to a woman photographer, one who had made photographs of Brother Russell, to have a photograph of himself. When he was shown the finished product he remarked that his picture was not as impressive as that of Brother Russell; the woman answered, “That's because the man isn't there.”
Just one more quotation from the article: “The Witnesses believe that the Kingdom of God began in 1914. Apparently they expected (as did the Millerite Adventists in 1844) some historical and worldly event to take place at that time, but have since taken the position that in 1914 Jehovah inaugurated the Kingdom in a manner apprehensible only to a believer.” It is true that only believers recognized the inauguration of the Kingdom in 1914. However, Pastor Russell based his belief upon the Gospel of Jesus, St. Paul and others. “God desires all men to be saved, and to come to an accurate knowledge of the truth... Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all.” (See 1 Tim. 2:4-6.) Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all ─ not just for those who become members of the Witnesses' sect.
In keeping with this, Brother Russell also stressed the words of Isaiah 35:5-10: “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped [those that are now unable to “hear” and understand the Truth]... wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein... and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Instead of “sorrow and sighing” diminishing and disappearing, it has been pyramided out of all proportion to what was the case prior to 1914. And being in full accord with Brother Russell's clear and sober interpretation of this Scripture, we can enthusiastically exclaim, God bless his memory!
ANOTHER SECULAR EXPRESSION
Last Spring an item was brought to our attention that appeared in the Sunday feature section of a prominent Florida newspaper, written by a professor of one of the nation's outstanding universities. Some of his contentions were so distorted that we were moved to write him the following letter:
My dear Professor: Christian greetings!
The general content of your “Poster Evangelism” treatise in the March 10 paper is read with considerable appreciation ─ very well written, I would say.
However, some of your statements regarding Russellism are very much askew; and I am persuaded that a man of your erudition and candor would not intentionally put false statements into your writings. For instance, you say “Russellism employed the surefire device of prophesying the imminent arrival of Christ (MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE).” At no time did Pastor Russell ever preach “the imminent arrival of Christ,” or use words that would convey such an impression. He did, however, offer elaborate and consummate analysis of such texts as Matthew 24:3: “What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” He contended that this was a very poor and misleading translation (the King James translation is replete with such mistakes). Present-day Greek scholars give it this way: “What shall be the sign of Thy presence, and of the consummation of the Age?” The word world in the text is from the Greek “aion,” and it means Age or Dispensation.
Furthermore, the “Millions Now Living” idea was never even mentioned during Pastor Russell's life. He died October 31, 1916; was succeeded in the Presidency of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society by J. F. Rutherford, who invented the “Millions” idea; and time has clearly proven that it was simply an odious vagary, hallucination with no foundation in fact or prophecy.
You also say Pastor Russell wrote seven volumes; whereas, he wrote only six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures. The seventh one, The Finished Mystery, is also a figment of Rutherford's mind. He audaciously declared that it was the “posthumous work” of Charles T. Russell, and the book does contain many quotations from his writings; but the errors injected into it by Judge Rutherford and his assistants offer insult to the clear and sober statements of Pastor Russell.
In Luke 21:24 Jesus said, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Some thirty years before 1914 Pastor Russell did forecast that the times of the Gentiles would end in 1914, the evidence of which would be a great world war. Even as late as 1913 he was scornfully ridiculed by his critics; but time has clearly proven that he was right, and they were wrong; the war came as predicted, almost to the day.
As a general statement, the Russellites were “moderately educated,” so you say; but they also did have among them a few brilliant Greek and Hebrew scholars, enough to reveal the erroneous translations of the Bible; and this made the Movement generally basically sound in exegetical deductions. The most brilliant of these was Professor Paul S. L. Johnson, who was a master of Greek and Hebrew. He soon voiced emphatic protest against the perversions that the Judge and his companions in error were attempting to inject into the harmonious truth structure that Pastor Russell had left. It was my privilege to be a very close friend of Professor Johnson, and I gave him very substantial support after he left the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society in 1917, which I continued to do until his death in 1950.
A pertinent analogy to the Russell Movement may be found among the Apostles, of whom it is written “they were unlearned and ignorant men.” (Acts 4:13) But they also had a man named Paul among them, who was brilliant and highly educated. As respects Professor Johnson, I might add that he graduated from Capital University of Columbus, Ohio, with the highest honors ever attained by any student up to his time.
It is my hope that you will find the copies of my papers, Nos. 194-223 and Special Edition No.7, interesting and informative; and I send with this letter my cordial good wishes for your health and prosperity. The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.
Sincerely, John J. Hoefle
In due course we received a courteous reply to the above letter, thanking us for the information we gave him. He also said, “What I wrote was based on intimate contact with Russellism when I was in High School in the 20's... My uncle could talk of nothing else. He was a fervent follower, first of Russell, then of Judge Rutherford. Of course, my uncle never knew of Paul Johnson's protests, and I was too young to have been aware of the division of thought at the Brooklyn headquarters.”
From the foregoing we may readily discern how easy it has been to “make” history; and that much of what is in the books today may be far from the truth. But when the record is written in full truth, then we shall have full appreciation of Jesus’ words, “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43) And this will be especially true of those faithful Pastors and Teachers, such as That Servant, the Epiphany Messenger, and others of the Gospel Age, including all the fully faithful.
(Brother John J. Hoefle, Reprint No. 498, October 1997)
New Book Release:
PASTOR C. T. RUSSELL: MESSENGER OF MILLENNIAL HOPE
A book on the life and legacy of Pastor Charles Taze Russell has recently been published. More than ten years in the making, it is the first such full-length biography to appear in eighty years. Thoroughly researched and documented with more than 600 endnotes, it flows in an easy-to-read narrative style that will delight both the serious student and interested reader alike.
The book begins with the early days of the Bible Student movement and traces its rapid growth in late 19th and early 20th century America. It highlights the immense popularity its founder achieved as an independent preacher, Bible textbook author, and widespread syndicated newspaper columnist with weekly reviews of his Sunday sermons. A summary of the Pastor's beliefs in areas of basic doctrines and prophetic expectations is given. His concept of the Divine plan of the ages and conviction of the nearness of the Millennial Kingdom for the blessing of all mankind are fully explained.
Attention is then given to the opposition that arose from orthodox church circles and from efforts of the clergy to thwart the Truth message. Two chapters deal specifically with various slanderous charges that were raised against the Pastor, both in his day and at the present time. He was accused of everything from lacking proper preaching credentials to displaying questionable moral integrity, all in a despicable effort to destroy his reputation and influence among the people. In airing these attacks maligning the Pastor's character, the author encourages the reader to note the bias of his detractors, discern between honest and unfair criticism, and most important, not be dissuaded from considering his enlightened teachings.
The final hectic days of the Pastor's ministry, the disappointment of 1914, and his unexpected death shortly afterward are all reviewed. Then follows an inside look at the incredible conspiracy and apostasy that occurred almost immediately within the midst of the directorate of the Society ─ overturning the Pastor's best efforts to prevent individual headship from gaining control. As the new leadership emerged, it quickly became evident that vast changes in spirit, doctrine and policy lay in store.
In the latter part of the book, one entire chapter is devoted to examining possible portrayals in Scripture of the Pastor's unique role, including “that faithful and wise servant,” “the seventh messenger” and “the man with the writer's inkhorn.” The legacy of Pastor Russell is then taken up at length in the final chapters. This is seen in the regrouping of scattered Bible Students that followed the mass confusion at his death, and their enthusiasm and zeal in carrying on the work of Harvest. These groups and their activities are described in detail, including the outreach in radio and television, republishing efforts, audiovisual projects, and internet use, as well as conventions and specialty facilities.
There is also a useful appendix section with noteworthy quotations from the Pastor's writings. These include concise doctrinal statements, devotional guides, and inspirational pen pictures, all quoted directly from his works. It closes with an especially readable reproduction of the Chart of the Ages and a handy key that explains the chart symbols in brief form.