Due to several inquiries as to our opinion of the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Cross and Torture Stake, we are reprinting our No. 155, May 1, 1968 article in refutation of their February 1, 1968 Watchtower on the subject. The purpose is twofold: First, to offer some protest against the Witnesses’ perversions and vitiations of Holy Writ; and second, to help our readers inform themselves – to have their “faculties habitually exercised for the discrimination of both Good and Evil.” (Heb. 5:14, Dia.) Thus, we now examine their contention:
THAT THE CROSS IS OF PAGAN ORIGIN
They ask the question, “Did the church ever tell you that the cross is a pagan symbol?” And we now ask the question, “Have the Witnesses ever told their followers that the cross was in common usage in Pagan Rome at the time the Pagan Law executed and crucified Jesus?” Their statement of fact we do not dispute – any more than we would contradict the statement that temples of religion are also of pagan origin. The Temple of Diana at Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; its roof was made from the famous Cedars of Lebanon, which are said to have lasted 400 years without showing any evidence of rot or decay; and it was here that one of the outstanding episodes in the pilgrimages of St. Paul was enacted, as the Greeks shouted, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” (Acts 19:28) But the telling feature of such edifices is not that they sanctify the people who frequent them; it is the people themselves that sanctify any building they occupy – whether it be an ordinary residence (“the church in thy house—Phil. 2), a commonplace meeting hall, or a magnificent edifice. Thus, the frequenters revealed by their treatment of St. Paul that the palatial Temple of Diana had produced little of good in them; whereas, St. Paul offers warm praise of those who attended “church” in the ordinary domicile of the “dearly beloved” Philemon and Apphia. (Philemon 2)
And much the same conclusions may be drawn from the emblem of the cross. Without dispute, it is of pagan origin; but the particular cross upon which Jesus was crucified was sanctified, immortalized by Him who hung thereon – even though it had been pagan Romans who did it. The Watchtower article says, “the cross was venerated in Egypt and Syria.” Yet, isn’t it odd, so very odd, that it makes no mention at all of the Romans and their use of the cross – although the Romans and the particular cross upon which our Lord was crucified are the special actors in the drama of Good Friday. And at this point it should be stressed that at the time of Jesus’ death crucifixion was used extensively by the Romans – although only slaves, provincials and the lowest type of criminals were crucified. And the Jews knew full well when they shouted, “Crucify Him, crucify Him” that they would thus drag Him to the very bottom of the cup of shame and humiliation. Tradition has it that the Romans also crucified St. Peter, but they beheaded St. Paul, because he was a Roman citizen by birth (Acts 22:28); and it was only rarely that Romans were subjected to the humiliation and anguish of the cross.
The Witnesses contend that Jesus was impaled on a torture stake; and we realize that such an article was in use by the ancients. In its earliest uses it consisted of a pointed stake used in fortifications, which gave considerable defense from attackers. As an instrument of torture or punishment the victim was either bound to this stake, from which he hung by his arms, or was impaled – with the stake thrust through his chest or driven longitudinally through the back or privy parts and coming out of the mouth. The invention of this atrocity is traditionally ascribed to Semiramus (Mother-wife of Nimrod – the mythical “Queen of Heaven” – the woman in the moon, and one of the most despicable characters in all history – See Jer. 44:17,18,19,25), although it was also originally a Phoenician practice; and used also in Persia in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. This latter method for putting Jesus to death would almost surely be flatly contradicted by the prophetic statement, “A bone of Him shall not be broken.” (John 19:36) It should require little argument that a sharp stake could not be driven through the chest or longitudinally through the body without breaking at least some small bone.
Also, the victim thus impaled could not possibly have had his hands nailed to the stake. Yet, the record is indisputable that Jesus was nailed to the instrument of His death. “Thomas said to them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I shall not believe.” (John 19:25) “After eight days... came Jesus... saith to Thomas, Reach thither thy finger, and behold my hands... and be not faithless, but believing.” (vs. 26,27) Thus, the Witnesses are hard-pressed to substitute their torture stake for a cross.
Various writers also mention a single upright post “on which the victim was tied or impaled” (nothing said here about nails), in addition to three types of crosses: St. Anthony’s cross (crux commissa), shaped like a capital letter “T” (thought by some to be accepted from the symbol of the Babylonian God Tammuz). He it was who supposedly died every Spring, and was then resurrected in several days by the violent weeping of the women of the Empire. This was undoubtedly a counterfeit – in advance – of Jesus’ death and resurrection, instigated by the great Deceiver; and its degrading influence seems to have been potent enough to contaminate some of the women in Israel (“The gate of the Lord’s house, which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz”—Eze. 8:14) This is vividly brought to our attention in Luke 23:28: “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
Another type of cross was St. Andrew’s cross (crux decussata) – shaped like our letter “X” –: and a third one was the crux immissa, shaped as the one commonly seen on many churches in Christendom, with the cross beam down somewhat from the top. This latter would have lent itself very well to the crucifixion story, as it would have provided ample opportunity for nailing Jesus’ hands to it, and to make allowance over His head for the inscription ordered there by Pilate, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” And a little reflection will convince any one that it would place some considerable strain upon the imagination to conclude that all of this could have been done just as an upright torture stake – as the Witnesses would now have us believe.
Nor do they find any support in their position from the critical translation of the Bible; e.g., Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott translation of the New Testament and Doctor Rotherham’s work. Both of these consistently translate the Greek Stauros (occurring 28 times) as ‘cross’; and the Greek Stauroo (occurring 46 times) as ‘crucify.’ But perhaps the strongest of all contradictions to their position is to be found in the history of the Jews by Flavius Josephus:
“Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross (A.D. 33 April 3, footnote), those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
Josephus was a contemporary of the Apostles, reputedly dying about 100 A.D.; and, being a Jew, he would certainly be well qualified to report the manner of Jesus’ death. And he reports that it was on a cross – no hint of a torture stake.
The above report is further strengthened by the history of the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman conqueror Titus in the year 70 A.D., which record tells us that, after the city’s fall, there was a circle of crosses around Jerusalem with a dead Jew hanging on each one of them. Thus, the Lord had literally taken them at their word, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” (Matt. 27:25) As they had done to Him on the cross, so it was likewise meted out to them by the Pagan Romans. Thus, it would seem that the great weight of consistency supports the story and picture of the cross as we understand it today; and so Pastor Russell accepted it. Had there been any cogent reason to question it, we may be certain he would have done so; but he was not one to find fault with Christendom for the mere sake of finding fault, or just to be different from the majority. Anything of merit that he could find in other groups, he was ready enough to acknowledge; as, for instance, he did with the observance of Christmas. There is not a single fact to support December 25 as the birthday of our Lord; there is also not a single line of Scripture that tells us to observe His birthday (although we are definitely told to remember His death). And, although we have reasonable assurance that His birth was on the tenth day of the seventh month Tishri (about October 10 of our calendar), Pastor Russell was not inclined to uproot such a long-established custom. Rather, he modestly stated:
“Although we cannot agree that this is the proper day for celebrating the birth of our Redeemer .... yet upon this day, so generally celebrated, we may properly enough join with all whose hearts are in the attitude of love and appreciation toward God and toward the Savior.” (This the Witnesses now also belittle.)
And his attitude toward the cross was much the same as it is recognized today; and there is strong argument – as we have given aforegoing – that he was right, and the present-day Witnesses are wrong in attacking the sacred story so generally accepted today. In fact, while he was still alive, the emblem of his admirers was a cross-and-crown pin a red enameled cross superimposed upon a crown of gold: “If we bear the cross, we shall wear the golden crowns.” There are yet probably quite a few Witnesses still living who hold in loving esteem that designation of their belief.
Our Lord said that every minute detail of the Law, of which the Tabernacle was an inseparable part, was typical. “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets ... Verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and earth pass, one jot (the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet) or one tittle (one tip of a letter) shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled (filled full, completely enacted in antitype).” (Matt. 5:17,18) If Jesus spoke the truth here – and He certainly did – then we are forced to the conclusion that the typical features of the Law are an integral and important part of the Old Testament, forcing the further conclusion that those antitypes that occur in this Gospel Age are an essential part of Christian knowledge and faith now. This is verified by St. Paul in 1 Cor. 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples.” The Diaglott translates this doubly emphatic: “These things occurred to them typically (“these things are all types,” or “these things by way of type”—Dr. Rotherham), and were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the Ages have come.”
Because of the forceful language in the critical translations, coupled with the words of Jesus in Matthew, Pastor Russell placed great value upon those Tabernacle types; thus, the outstanding production of his early writings was “Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices,” which appeared first in 1881. And in the Foreword of that book he had this to say:
“The careful student will discern that, the application of the types herein presented being correct, the entire Plan of the Ages is thereby corroborated .... To what a glorious gospel, then, is this the key.”
Yet, the Witnesses - who now make loud cry that Pastor Russell is the founder of their Movement – have completely eliminated Tabernacle Shadows from their teachings just as the Roman Catholic Church has perverted or eliminated much of the teachings of our Lord and the Apostle Peter, even as they also claim to be following “in their steps.” Such claim, of course, is nothing more than gross fraud, and the names St. Peter and Pastor Russell become only magnetic expressions to perpetrate colossal hoax upon “the unstable and the unlearned.”
Possibly realizing somewhat the enormity of their offense, and in a bungling attempt to mitigate their acts, they give 1 Cor. 10:11 this translation in their own Bible:
“Now these things went on befalling them as examples.” It will readily appear to all that this ‘translation’ by the Witnesses bears little resemblance to those critical translations cited aforegoing, which brings us to repeat what we have previously declared; namely, their Bible is not a translation at all – it is merely a paraphrase distorted and twisted to fit what they now want to believe. Thus, it needs little argument that Pastor Russell would have no part of their ‘translation’ were he still living.
Nor should the Witnesses claim to be following Pastor Russell when they cast aside the very foundation of all his Harvest Truth teachings. As he himself emphatically declared, the Six Volumes of Studies in the Scriptures all are the direct outgrowth of Tabernacle Shadows; and Tabernacle Shadows corroborates “the entire Plan of the Ages.” Therefore, in rejecting Tabernacle Shadows, they are in substance rejecting the Good Word of God – all of which causes us to quote Jer. 8:9: “They have rejected the Word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” This one premise alone should cause all to view with a very skeptical eye anything and everything that the Witnesses now offer as truth. And, further along this line, when any organization begins to “strain at gnats,” as the Witnesses have done regarding “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) – condemning acceptance of the cross because it is of pagan origin – we may very safely conclude that such people are bereft of the Truth and the spirit of the Truth; and we should follow St. Paul’s counsel, “from such turn away.” (2 Tim. 3:5)
And we might here properly inquire, Is their ‘torture stake’ not also of Pagan origin? And would Christians be any less Pagan if they adopted the ‘torture stake’ instead of the cross? In fact, they emphasize the pagan origin of the cross; then substitute another pagan invention in its place – simply talking without having anything to say. Truly, “Wisdom is justified of all her children.” (Luke 7:35)
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
In previous papers we have stated that the Witnesses are the Roman Catholic Church’s “little twin”; and, in further proof of this contention, we analyze the conditions pertaining to the Jews after the end of that dispensation. Just before His death our Lord said unto them, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matt. 23:38) And in keeping with this declaration the desolation gradually gathered momentum until the full destruction in A.D. 73 by the Romans, followed by the dispersion that continued throughout the Gospel Age. And with that dispersion came continued and organized contumely and physical abuse upon that race. Especially was this persecution aided and abetted by Antichrist (the Roman Church); and the more apostate that system became, the more they also treated true Christians (the heretics, the real Protestants) in like manner as they did the Jews. Thus the cast-off Jews and the true followers of Jesus found themselves in much the same caldron (without design on the part of either, of course).
Now, here in the end of the Age, some of this same condition finds repetition. Since the death of Pastor Russell the Witnesses have been very determined in their antagonism against those who would adhere to his teachings, branding them as “that evil servant” class (Matt. 24:48), forbidding their deluded dedicated devotees to read any of the writings of such people (in exact fashion as did the Roman Church with respect to the writings of the ‘heretics’ – true Protestants), casting the protesters out of their midst in cruel and unfounded disfellowshipments (“make fire come down from Heaven” – Rev. 13:13) – in exact duplication of the acts of the Roman Church during the heyday of their power. And along with such proceedings, they, too, are castigating the Jews, consigning them to eternal extinction because they do not accept the Witnesses – identically as did the Roman Church when they sentenced their ‘heretics’ to the Lake of Fire.
This, too, is a diametric contradiction of what Pastor Russell taught. At the overflow meeting at the Hippodrome Theatre in New York City in 1910, the Pastor so warmed the hearts of the Jews there assembled that many of them for years afterward fondly referred to him as their Pastor. Thus, here again we find no relation at all to what the Witnesses now teach concerning Jewry to what Pastor Russell taught, and whom they claim to be the founder of their Movement. In this connection, we offer the following quotation from his Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 2, p. 302:
“Some have endeavored to do as Papacy did, to organize their church under some one person as its head, while others supply the place of this head with a council or synod; but all are under the delusion imposed by the false and misleading interpretations of Scripture doctrine started by Antichrist – that now, and not at a future time, is the reign of Christ’s Kingdom; and, denying the coming Age, as the Antichrist does, they, like that system, are careless of the full development of holiness among believers (the Witnesses denying there is such a thing as character development—JJH) and are zealous rather for the accomplishment now of the work of the next Age, the conversion of the world – so much so that they are often willing to misrepresent God’s plan and Word, and to invent theories to frighten and drive the world into a profession of godliness.”
When the Papal System held sway, they consigned the dissenters to eternal torment; now the Witnesses sentence them to eternal extinction in the approaching Armageddon. Then the Papacy (Antichrist) had established the counterfeit thousand-year reign of Christ; now the Witnesses have established their counterfeit Kingdom.
Just a little reflection should cause any unbiased mind to realize their present ridiculous position. All about us we see moronic, semi-moronic, physical and mental derelicts who either have not the capacity or the will power to assimilate the Truth when it is presented to them. The Adversary is not yet bound, and is “blinding the minds of them that believe not” – even among the majority of the intelligent. They freely proclaim this in their March 1, 1968 Tower, p. 136, par. 1, telling us the Devil is still with us, “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” Yet the Witnesses are telling us that if all such people do not accept them now before Armageddon, they shall experience eternal extinction with no further chance for Kingdom blessings – even though all the minds of the unbelievers are BLINDED by the Devil! Note now the prophecy that directly applies to the TRUE Kingdom reign – Christ’s Kingdom reign: “When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isa. 26:9) And again Rev. 21:25, “There will be no night (error) there.” Further, the words of St. Paul in 1 Tim. 2:4, Dia.: “God desires all men to be saved, and come to an accurate knowledge of the Truth.”
Let us now consider some of the Witnesses’ teachings that are in violent opposition to the foregoing. On p. 659 of the Nov. 1, 1967 Tower, they say: “The ‘stubborn’ resisters (meaning actually, the resisters of the Witnesses’ kingdom—JJH) of God’s victorious kingdom are really accomplishing nothing against it. At Armageddon... He will utterly destroy them by means of his exalted Royal Stone, Jesus Christ.”
And further on p. 660: “Jehovah God will perform no ‘saving’ act for his enemies... God will bring them back to punishment. If, even in atomic-powered submarines, they should try to hide themselves in the depths of the sea, the unavoidable Jehovah God will bring them back. To what? To face slaughter, that their life blood may be poured out. This will enable the true followers (meaning the Witnesses themselves—JJH) of the Son of David, in effect, to wash their feet in the blood of their enemies. No decent burial will be given such detestable enemies, but, if we have any Biblically despised dogs in our service, God will let them lick up the blood of the enemies against whom God has arisen.”
Here indeed is a most happifying anticipation – a glorious reward for the faithful followers of the Lamb! Who but the most obnoxious moral renegades would not enjoy bathing his feet in a pool of blood of his former friends and relatives – perhaps your own father and mother will be providing some of that blood for you – if they don’t agree with you now, and don’t join up with the Witnesses! What a reward is here held out for those “true followers (the Witnesses) of the Son of David!
And something more on p. 661: “O how the favored survivors of the war of Armageddon will celebrate his eternal victory with song and music, blessing him who is the source of life of his people!”
Join them quickly – before Armageddon – and you, too, may be among the fortunate ones who will revel by bathing your feet in the blood of your mother, your father, your sweetheart, or your children who had not the favored intellect to realize that they also should have cast their lot with those who will obtain the supreme ecstasy of that bloody carnage. It is but a small step between this picture and the one presented by the Roman Church. The latter promised their adherents a blissful eternity – playing upon golden harps, no more conflicts or toils, in heavenly glory, as they would experience the inexplicable ‘joy’ in Heaven of watching their former friends and relatives – father, mother, et al – writhing forever in the Lake of Fire, with no hope of escape. Of course, our enlightened day will no longer tolerate such distortion; thus, the Witnesses have toned down their punishment of the damned to a less hideous sentence in Armageddon (although ‘scary’ enough to induce many of the “unstable and unlearned” to join them): You will just wash your feet in the blood of the lost, instead of enjoying their torment in the Lake of Fire forever.
THE LAST ENEMY
On pp. 524, 525 of the Sept. 1, 1967 Tower there is offered some considerable comment on the “last enemy” of 1 Cor. 15:26. They contend this “last enemy” they declare to be the “Adamic death” (although they also claim that Adam has died the Second Death, which will never be destroyed) – the death resting upon all through Father Adam’s transgression in Eden. Placing Adam in the Second Death is a direct denial of the Ransom (the anti-lutron, or exact equivalent), because Adam is the only person who could properly be ransomed by Jesus – a perfect life for a perfect life. Every one of Adam’s descendants came into this world imperfect; thus the giving of a perfect life for any one of them could not possibly be a true anti-lutron, an exact equivalent, or ransom in the Biblical sense of that word. This “new light” of the Witnesses is a diametric contradiction, and repudiation, of our Pastor’s basic teaching of the “Restitution of all things” (Acts 3:19-21), as he sets forth in the “Divine Plan of the Ages” (a book they have cast aside for their “New Light”).
Let us keep well before us that the raising of the last one from the grave will immediately blot out the Adamic-death state. Those who die after coming to “an accurate knowledge of the Truth” – if not obedient to the best of their ability and in harmony with it – will then die the Second Death – not the Adamic death. Thus, it would seem very elemental that the last one to come forth from the tomb must do so some considerable time before Satan is loosed from the abyss, because it is hardly likely that that person can “come to an accurate knowledge of the truth” in a day, a week, a month, or even a year. This being true, there must be something decidedly faulty with their reasoning here – something wrong somewhere.
So the “Last Enemy” of 1 Cor. 15:26 is not the Adamic-death state, as the Adamic-death state is destroyed at least a 100 years before the Mediatorial reign ends. The Adamic-death process (the evils inherited and acquired under the reign of sin) will be plagued out of the sheep class by the end of the Mediatorial reign and at the beginning of the Little Season. But the Adamic-death process will not be plagued out of the goat class, because although outwardly obedient their hearts were evil: they will enter the Little Season with imperfect characters. So when the goats are destroyed in the Second Death at the end of the Little Season the Adamic-death process in them is destroyed: The “last enemy” of 1 Cor. 15:26 (the Adamic-death process) will then be destroyed at the end of the Little Season. Then “there will be no more ‘curse’ – the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it.” (Rev. 22:3)
To indulge in a slight digression, we remark that the leaders of the LHMM also hold the same view as do the Witnesses on the destruction of this “last enemy”: they, too, teach it is to be destroyed before Satan is loosed from the abyss.
On pp. 540-543 of this same Tower is the record of one Johannes Weber, long time adherent of the Witnesses, who tells us on p. 541 that sometime before 1914 a lady advised him to read The Divine Plan of the Ages. “This I did,” says he, “and read the book thoroughly noting that its teachings were quite different from those of the church.” He does not say to which “church” he refers; but we would now join with him in declaring that the teachings of that Divine Plan book are also “quite different” from the teachings of the “church” of the present-day Witnesses – so much so that Pastor Russell (who wrote the book) would speedily disavow any connection whatever with those now attempting to gain prestige by linking his name with theirs. The Divine Plan of the Ages directly contradicts the entire structure of the Witnesses present-day teachings regarding Armageddon and the fate of the present unsaved world. This is quite in keeping with the claims of Antichrist and its relation to St. Peter; Antichrist’s claims are an insult to St. Peter – just as the Witnesses’ claim is an insult to Pastor Russell. “Only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” (Isa. 4:1) Pastor Russell had a heart-cheering message for the unsaved world instead of telling them if they didn’t join his group now they would be eternally dammed.
Here is a little more from Brother Weber’s statement: “At the end of the war (1914-1918) one day I spied a huge poster with a picture of Pastor Charles T. Russell, the Society’s first president, advertising a film show entitled Photo-Drama of Creation.’ It turned out to be the most beautiful and imposing drama I had ever seen... The next outstanding event was the widely publicized lecture by J. F. Rutherford, second president of the Watchtower Society on the topic ‘Millions Now Living Will Never Die.’“ In this latter he fails to state, however, that the time limit of this lecture was set for 1925; and, when 1925 came and went with not even a ripple in current happenings to give the slightest credibility to the lecture and the time predictions, the subject was hastily and quietly – dropped. Do we hear any one preaching it today? If not, why not? If it was the Truth in 1920, it should be decidedly and more clearly apparent now than it was then. In 1925 the Ancient Worthies were to return from the grave Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the others; and this was so fixedly taught that J. F. Rutherford even built a palatial residence in California, it was reported, to be used by those Ancients when they would return to life. However, a former Jehovah’s Witness told us that the mansion was built for J. F. Rutherford, and was not built for the Ancient Worthies.
But let us consider here that the Divine Plan and the Photo-Drama were the means of bringing Brother Weber into the Truth, although there was not one word in either of them about Millions Now Living Will Never Die – nor of any of the sordid blood-bath predictions now being circulated by the Witnesses – not one word about a bath of blood for you in the blood of your former relatives and friends. Indeed, Pastor Russell was “wise and faithful”: he taught that the fully faithful would be able to bless and help their unbelieving friends and relatives, instead of rollicking in their blood; thus, we should not expect such distortion from him, because he did indeed teach “the Gospel (good news) of the Kingdom” – “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Thus we are forced to the painful conclusion that at the first Brother Weber was brought into the Truth by Pastor Russell’s ingenious pen products; but has since been taken out of that Truth by the pen products – the present-day teachings – of the Witnesses. And, if the present-day Witnesses would read that Divine Plan of the Ages with an honest and open mind, they would speedily and gladly be forced to renounce their present beliefs. The honest-hearted among them would be happy to shed their sectarian bonds and receive the Truth that makes you free indeed. (See John 8:32 and Berean Comments)
We offer here just one brief quotation from that Divine Plan book, p. 294: “We find statements by both prophets and apostles which clearly indicate that in the times of restitution Israel as a nation will be the first among the nations to come into harmony with the new order of things; that the earthly Jerusalem will be rebuilt upon old heaps (this prediction is dated 1886, when there was not the slightest intimation of Israel as a nation in Palestine, as we now view it—JJH); and their polity will be restored as in the beginning under princes or judges (Isa. 1:26; Psa. 45:16; Jer. 30:18)... And while Israel will be the first of the nations to be recognized and blessed, it is written also of Israel that ‘The Lord shall save the tents of Judah first’... As Jerusalem was the seat of the empire under the typical Kingdom of God, it will again occupy the same position, and be the ‘city of the Great King’ (Psa. 48:2).”
Much more of the same is to be found in that section of the book; and all of this the present leaders of the Witnesses have renounced completely – claiming, as they do, that their present “Large Multitude” are to be recognized as the principals in the earthly phase of Christ’s Kingdom – much the same as the LHMM now also claims the preeminence for their “Consecrated Campers,” a class invented for the purpose in recent years, in exact fashion as the Witnesses have invented their non-existent earthly “Large Multitude.” Of this perhaps more in a future writing. Both Movements repudiate what Pastor Russell taught concerning the Jews – all the while both of them make loud claim to being his followers.
And here is something else from Pastor Russell’s faithful Scriptural teachings that completely dissipates the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ claim of “God’s Kingdom on Earth”: “Thus we see our commission as respects all people of all nations who have an ear to hear our message. We are to make them disciples and to immerse them into the name (the disposition—JJH) of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are to teach them to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commands. This is the extent of our authority. We are not to organize human systems and call them kingdom, churches, or other names (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Kingdom Halls, etc.—JJH). We are merely to prepare the followers of Jesus, cooperating with God, who will work in them to will and to do His good pleasure.” (Dec. 1, 1914, Reprint 5588, col. 2, top)
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth.”
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle , Pilgrim
LETTER OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace to you and the Bible House family!
It has been a long time since I last heard from you. I do regret not writing before now. Anyway, I am still in good health, spiritually and otherwise, although Sister is not quite so bright – has not overcome completely her shocks.
Nevertheless, there is much to be grateful for! The Lord has spared our lives to serve Him. The Apostle Paul points out: “There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” (2 Cor. 12:7) God sees and knows what is best to develop His people.
Yes, dear Brother, our Lord has certainly been manifesting Himself in His Spiritual House as well as toward the powers of the earth. They will soon be completely shaken and destroyed We are in receipt of the articles you send to us. They are surely refreshing – like the brook along the way of the weary traveler. May the good Lord continue to bless your great efforts toward His Name.
I received a letter from Brother ------- He sent me five pounds and his sympathy in my bereavement. He emphasized that the Kingdom will be set up in 1994. Well, there might be likelihood of that. But, while hopeful, I think we need to watch “the Salvation of the Lord.”
Please remember us in your prayers, even as we always do the same for you and all at the Bible House. With warm Christian love, I am
Sincerely your brother ------- (JAMAICA)