The following information is an excerpt taken from
the publication called: The "Report" Volume I, pages 79-92.
THE BOOK OF DANIEL - "SEALED" OR "UNSEALED"
At this time, it would be good to carefully reread, out loud, Daniel 12:4, 9 for yourself. It states:
"And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of the end. Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant...And he went on to say: Go, Daniel, because the words are made secret and sealed up until the time of the end."
Now, what did you notice above? Yes, it says quite clearly that the book of Daniel would be sealed, yes "sealed up" until "the time of the end." Now, remember: Jehovah's Witnesses have been taught by the Watchtower Society that the "time of the end" started with Christ's enthronement in the year 1914, based upon Charles Taze Russell's computations. However, what's odd or puzzling about this statement is that Charles Russell himself drew all of his computations to arrive at this date, entirely from the book of Daniel, before 1914! That's right from the Bible book of Daniel, the "sealed" book, before 1914. Now, you may be saying: "That's crazy...why would the Witnesses believe such a stupid thing as this?" Well, let's examine the following information and see just how this situation developed.
THE BELIEF OF CHARLES T. RUSSELL AND THE DATE OF 1914
We opened our discussion by talking about the mathematical formula the Watchtower Society uses to teach the 1914 dogma. Again, we are reminded that the entire doctrine is based upon the theory that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE, whereupon they begin the count till it reaches the desired date of 1914. The date, 1914, is thought to be the single most powerful evidence of Jehovah's blessing upon this particular people, doctrine-wise. And whom do Jehovah's Witnesses attribute the honor of "discovering" this belief? Why, to the first leader of the movement of "International Bible Students;" the man whose financial fortune actually started publication of Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence in July of 1879. Yes, the man who became the corporation's first President in 1884. And not only did this man become the first President of the Watchtower Society, but he was the first man in this movement thought to be the "Faithful Slave" of Matthew chapter 24. Who was he? Why, he was none other than Charles Taze Russell, the first modern-day Jehovah's Witnesses. The man that the Watchtower Society credits with starting the modern-day movement we know as Jehovah's Witnesses.
There can be no question that many of the fundamental and basic teachings and beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses today, such as the error of the Trinity doctrine, the Hellfire doctrine and many more such false teachings, were first formulated by this man. He was a noted author, prolific lecturer, and outstanding public debater of his time. It was his teachings that provided the doctrinal foundation of what we call the Jehovah's Witnesses today. And, the Watchtower Society, along with Jehovah's Witnesses as a whole, do not hide this plain fact, but are quite proud of their connections with Charles T. Russell. It is commonly felt by Jehovah's Witnesses that throughout history, among all Jehovah's Witnesses, Charles T. Russell did more for the movement than any other single person in the organization.
Therefore, even though, Jehovah's Witnesses didn't get their present name until 1931, nevertheless, it is a commonly accepted fact that Charles Taze Russell was, and still is, thought of as the first of their number in a modern-day sense. In addition to this, many Jehovah's Witnesses feel that God's hand was personally upon Russell when he "discovered" the so-called date of 1914. Yes, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jehovah's spirit led Russell to this great Biblical finding. Well, even though Russell was unquestionably an ardent student of the Scriptures, and did formulate many present-day teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, the Watchtower Society themselves admit that Russell was not the "discoverer" of the date of 1914 himself. No, but Russell actually got this date from someone else. "Someone else???" you say. Yes, someone else. This is how it happened according to the Watchtower Society's own publications.
In 1876, Charles T. Russell, borrowed the teaching from a certain N. H. Barbour who was at the time the publisher of The Herald of the Morning. Yes, we said "borrowed the teaching." We can confidently say so because the Watchtower Society admits that after a series of meetings with N. H. Barbour in the year of 1876, Russell then wrote the article: "Gentile Times: When Do They End?" published by George Storrs in the Bible Examiner. This is the first recorded mention of the date of 1914 by Charles T. Russell. (See the October 15, 1990 Watchtower magazine, pg. 19 footnote.) Let's notice this revealing quote from the publication Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose which says:
"Then, in 1876, while Pastor Russell was in Philadelphia on a business trip, he happened to come into possession of a copy of the magazine The Herald of the Morning, which you will recall, was being published by N.H. Barbour of Rochester, N.Y. He was surprised and pleased to note that here was another group that expected Christ's return invisibly and, because of the similarity of their views, he read more of this publication, even though he recognized it as an Adventist paper and even though, up to this time, he had had little regard for their doctrines. But Russell was interested in learning from any quarter, whatever God had to teach. He became interested in the chronology set forth in the magazine and immediately got in touch with Barbour to arrange a meeting at Russell's expense in order to discuss this matter further.
"It seems that one of Barbour's group had come into possession of Benjamin Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott translation of the 'New Testament.' He noticed, at Matthew 24:27, 37, 39, that the word rendered coming in the King James Version is translated presence in the Diaglott. This was the clue that had led Barbour's group to advocate, in addition to their time calculations, an invisible presence of Christ. Russell had been interested first in the purpose of Christ's return. His realization that it would be invisible led him now seriously to consider the time features. He was satisfied with the evidence Barbour presented." - Pg. 18 3, 4.
Did you notice that the Russell's chronological time calculations actually came from N.H. Barbour and his study group. Yes, it was "their time calculations," as set forth in Barbour's Herald of The Morning, long before Russell began printing any Watchtower publications. It is also interesting to note that Russell's concept of an "invisible presence" was also largely shaped by Barbour's group, using the Emphatic Diaglott Bible.
Charles T. Russell continued his relationship with Barbour as evidenced by the fact that in the next year, 1877, Russell collaborated with Barbour on the book "Three Worlds or Plan of Redemption." Notice this quote from the Watchtower Society's publication Jehovah's Witnesses In the Divine Purpose pg. 19. 3:
"That same year, 1877, together with Barbour, Russell produced a book called "Three Worlds or Plan of Redemption." Nothing like it had ever been published before. It combined for the first time the explanations of time prophecies with the work of Restitution. At this early date they recognized that the end of Satan's period of uninterrupted rule of the earth, called `gentile times,' would come in 1914."
Did you notice the words,
Yes, the Watchtower Society wants the individual Witness to think it was a collaborative effort, a joint effort on their parts. However, the truth of the matter shows that N. H. Barbour was the first to actually direct attention to the year of 1914. After a short period of time, Barbour and Russell ended their partnership. And what happened to the date of 1914? Well, Russell simply took Barbour's date of 1914 and further enhanced it with his own theological interpretations. And what did Russell develop as a doctrine surrounding this date?
1874 AND HARVEST
Well, surprising as it may seem to Jehovah's Witnesses today, C.T. Russell taught that, as early as of the year of 1798, and later 1799, Christians were supposedly living in what the Bible calls the "time of the end." Yes, first in the year of 1798 and then 1799! This particular date was supposedly prophetically connected to the "French Revolution" somehow. Let's notice the following comment on the subject:
"The overthrow of that dominion in 1798 by the French Revolution marked the beginning of the `time of the end.' - Zion's Watchtower, August 1879, pg. 24 Watchtower Society's reprints.
But how did they arrive at this particular date? Yes, what was the "formula" used to arrive at this particular date? Well, the publication entitled Creation, published in 1927 by J.F. Rutherford, explains the "formula" used to calculate this all-important date identifying the "time of the end." It states:
"Twelve hundred and sixty years from A. D. 539 brings us to 1799, which is another proof that 1799 definitely marks the beginning of `the time of the end." - pg. 315 (early editions) or pg. 294 (later editions)
Also, C.T. Russell wrote, as published in the November 1, 1914 issue of Zion's Watchtower this clear statement:
"The year 1799 marked the beginning of the `time of the end,' when various events were to occur." - pg. 5565 Watchtower Society's reprints.
In fact, as early as 1879, C.T. Russell wrote in the first issue of Zion's Watchtower his position on the "time of the end" by saying:
"This is the first number of the first volume of `Zion's Watch Tower,' and it may not be amiss to state the object of its publication. That we are living `in the last days' - `the day of the Lord' - `the end' of the Gospel age, and consequently, in the dawn of the `new' age, are facts not only discernible by the close student of the Word, led by the spirit, but the outward signs recognizable by the world bear the same testimony, and we are desirous that the `household of faith' be fully awake to the fact." - Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose pg. 21 6
Yes, we can clearly see that C.T. Russell certainly felt that he was living in what the Bible calls, the "time of the end." And the year that marked the start of this period was 1799. Also, Russell further taught that the date of 1874 actually started Christ's invisible parousia, as well as a unique 40-year "harvesting" period of anointed Christians. This Divine "harvest," under the direction of the newly enthroned King, Jesus Christ (as of 1878), would run it's course and reach it's completion in the year of, you guessed it, 1914. And finally, what was to happen after the Divine "harvest" was to be completed, namely in the year of 1914? ARMAGEDDON, that's what. Yes, the year of 1914, was taught by Russell for close to 40 years to be the actual date of destruction for all "gentile nations," who would not submit to Christ's kingship. (After all, they did have 40 years to submit, right?) Therefore, the time now came for Jehovah to remove these stubborn, enemy political nations from His sight. We have three quotes from the Society's own publications to prove these points. First let's notice what was actually taught about the "1874-1914 Harvest." One publication states:
"First of all, Pastor Russell and those associated with him believed Christ's invisible presence in spirit form had already begun in 1874. They realized Christ's main work at that time was to gather those that were his and to free them from the many contradictory teachings as to what the divine will was for them. They believed Christ's purpose in returning was to gather them together, restore the true worship and then, in 1914 at the end of `Gentile Times,' take them into God's kingdom, just as a bridegroom would claim his bride. This meant that the first thing people must do was to forsake Christendom's apostate religion and learn the truth, then actively spread that truth to others." - Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose pg. 23 2.
Also the publication, Let Your Name Be Sanctified makes these comments:
"...As far back as 1877 the book Three Worlds, and The Harvest of This World, of which C.T. Russell was the co-publisher, said, under the heading `The Times of the Gentiles,' on page 83, 2, respecting the overturning of God's kingdom in Israel: `Hence, it was in B.C. 606, that God's kingdom ended, the diadem was removed, and all the earth given up to the Gentiles, 2520 years from B.C. 606, will end in A.D. 1914, or forty years from 1874; and this forty years upon which we have now entered is to be such ` time of trouble as never was since there was a nation.'... The seven prophetic times of the Gentiles, or 2520 years, is a long period, and without doubt began where God's kingdom, in the line of David, ended, at the beginning of the seventy years captivity, or B.C. 606. And as from where the harvest of the Jewish age began, to A.D. 70, was forty years so this 2520 years, or the times of the Gentiles, reach from B.C. 606 to A.D. 1914, or forty years beyond 1874." - pg. 305 29.
Yes, CT Russell felt that all the anointed would, at least by 1914, be taken to heaven or "harvested" to complete the Messianic Kingdom arrangement. And what was to happen next to all individuals left in a position of opposition to God's Messianic King in the year of 1914? Let's notice a quote from a Watchtower made by Russell himself, away back in the year of 1889, describing what was to actually occur in the year of 1914.
". . . we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God will be accomplished by the end of A.D. 1914." (See 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pg. 37, 1 and pg. 75, 3.)
Did you notice what he was saying? Yes, Russell was simply stating what he and the entire organization believed in 1879, namely that the "END of the kingdoms of this world" was coming in 1914! Now, some ill-informed Jehovah's Witness might attempt to dispute that fact, but that is precisely what he believed and the Society's own publications prove it! And did the end come in 1914??? Obviously, not. Russell must have recognized that fact no doubt as he lived until the year 1916. Therefore, we can see that there is a big difference in what Charles T. Russell actually taught, and what Jehovah's Witnesses today actually believe, concerning the date of 1914. Yes, the doctrine of 1914, as taught by Russell, is an entirely different matter from what is presently taught by Jehovah's Witnesses today. Needless to say that, with:
(a) the death of Russell in 1916 and (b) no resurrection of the church and (c) no Armageddon or destruction of the nations in sight,
there was great disappointment with many leaving the organization. This indeed did happen. And again, what were they expecting? They were expecting, according to the Watchtower Society the "final end of the [political] kingdoms of this world!" So, how has the Watchtower Society survived such a blow of defeat as this? Clearly, their dates, Russell's dates, proved wrong, didn't they? How would the Watchtower Society handle such a problem? Would they honestly and humbly admit to failure in their predictions of such dates and share responsibility for stumbling so many away from the organization? Would they???
THE SLIDING DATE METHOD
The answer is No! After making more foolish blunders as in pointing forward to the date of 1925, the Watchtower Society, now under J.F. Rutherford, finally masterminded a concept to further perpetuate Russell's doctrine of 1914 by now saying the actual "presence" of our Lord started in 1914 and not in 1874 as Russell taught. Simply, put: The Watchtower Society put into use the sliding date method. The "sliding date method???...what is that?" you say.
Well, the Watchtower Society conveniently discarded the date of 1874 altogether, and simply slid the date of the `establishment of Christ's Kingdom and heavenly enthronement' 40 years in advance, from 1874 up to the year of 1914. This year, 1914, would thus mark the start the Biblical period called "the time of the end." Again, 1914 would be the year for the start of Christ's invisible parousia or "presence." Yes, this year would also be the start of the great "Harvest" that Russell talked so much about. Alas, Jesus would now `sit down on his glorious throne and begin separating the sheep from the goats' in the fateful year of 1914! (Matthew 25:31,32) Indeed, it was published in the book The Truth Shall Make You Free, 1943, on page 324, paragraph 1:
"The King's presence or parousia began in 1914, and then his appearing or epiphaneia at the temple came in 1918."
Also the Watchtower of July 15, 1949, page 215, paragraph 22 made this statement:
". . . Messiah, the Son of man, came into Kingdom power A.D. 1914 and...this constitutes his second coming and the beginning of his second parousia . . ." - God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached, pp. 209-210, 55.
And what about the date of "Armageddon" - the destruction of all the political nations? Well, again the Society can now teach, using the "sliding date method," the same as Russell namely, that after Jesus completes his work of "harvesting" Christians, or the `separating of all sheep from goats' worldwide, then the foretold destruction will occur. Therefore we can see that the basic format for the doctrine that Russell taught is really the same, only the dates have been "slid" around to accommodate the doctrine.
However, keep in mind that the Watchtower Society cannot, and we repeat, cannot tarnish the image of "Pastor Russell" in any way. No, they cannot because this is the glue for their whole organization, namely this doctrine of 1914. No, but they have to keep Russell's image intact, to keep the organization together.
PLEASE NOTE: If the individual Jehovah's Witness could put the facts of this story together in one concise form, as outlined in this essay, the organization would simply crumble from within, with large numbers leaving the movement, worldwide. And the leaders at "mother Bethel" know this all too well.
Therefore, the leaders of the Watchtower movement, must continue to maintain that Russell was still RIGHT, that is, in what he taught! "But, how was he right, or correct in what he taught?" you may ask. Well, the Society maintains that he was still right because he accurately predicted the end of the "Gentile Times" in 1914. That's right, the end of the "Gentile Times" - namely that of 1914. And that's what really counts!
Notice this comment from the October 15, 1990 Watchtower magazine on this very topic. It reads:
"For 38 years prior to 1914, the Bible Students, as Jehovah's Witnesses were then called, pointed to that date as the year when the Gentile Times would end. What outstanding proof that is that they were true servants of Jehovah! Yet, like first century servants of God, they also had some wrong expectations. For example, they expected that the full number of anointed Christians would be raised to heaven by October 1914. They also thought that the war that started in 1914 would lead directly on to the end of Satan's world." - pg. 19, 20.
Did you catch it? In other words, even though CT Russell and the International Bible Students were wrong on virtually every prophecy they interpreted concerning the date of 1914, nevertheless, according to the Watchtower Society, they still proved to be
"outstanding true servants of Jehovah,"
because of supposedly identifying the start of the "Gentile Times." How ridiculous! Nevertheless, the Watchtower Society must admit, among other things, that:
1) Russell was incorrect in his date for the start of the "time of the end," namely 1799.
2) Russell was incorrect in his teaching that the "war would lead directly to the end of Satan's system" or Armageddon, as of 1914.
3) Russell was incorrect, in his assumption that Christ had entered his "invisible presence" or parousia as of 1874.
4) Russell was again wrong, in his teaching that Christ had indeed assumed kingly power, as of the date of 1878 (3 1/2 after the 1874.)
5) Finally, Russell was wrong concerning a 40-year Harvest, culminating in the resurrection of all anointed to heaven, and the immediate start of the 1,000-year or millennial reign of peace, by Christ Jesus over the earth, as of 1914.
Therefore, in light of all the evidence, we are sure that you can see why this presents a new problem for the Watchtower Society namely:
how could C. T. Russell have been right, and yet, at the same time, been wrong on so many counts, we ask?
Yes, how could anyone believe that after having been wrong on so many points, that Russell was right in his calculations that the "Gentile Times" actually ended in the fall of 1914? Who could really place confidence in the findings of Charles T. Russell, after having heard the whole story?
EXALTING TRUTH OR "FOOLISHNESS"
Proverbs 18:13 makes this plain statement:
"When anyone is replying to a matter before he hears [it], that is foolishness on his part and a humiliation."
Yes, have we as Jehovah's Witnesses, truly heard the whole story? In fact, after you have `heard' more about this story, this teaching of 1914, more of the whole story, does not the 1914 doctrine sound like what Peter warned against, namely `following an artfully contrived false story' -- something first century Christians were specifically warned against doing? (2 Peter 1:16) And, could we not say that in our zealous preaching of this doctrine that we are perhaps, `replying to a matter' without the benefit of first `hearing' the whole story surrounding the date of 1914? And finally, if the above is accurate, that is in the least bit, isn't it true that the house-to-house preaching of the date 1914 is in itself a sham, a hoax, a "humiliation" that has been played upon us as Jehovah's Witnesses, by the Watchtower Society themselves? Remember, we as Jehovah's Witnesses, owe it to ourselves to give this `artfully contrived story' of 1914 another look - yes, a close examination. We, as Truth-seekers, need to personally examine this doctrine in line with what Paul said at Acts 17:11. It states:
"Now the latter [Beroeans] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so."
Yes, the "Beroeans" checked the Scriptures, `to see if these things were so.' No, they did not simply take Paul's word for it. No, but they checked for themselves! Again, we invite all who subscribe to the doctrine of 1914, to examine this particular teaching.
Is the teaching of 1914 scripturally sound? Do I personally have all of the facts surrounding this date?
The publication You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth made this most enlightening comment about the need to examine one's personal beliefs, in religious matters. And we quote:
"How should you feel if proof is given that what you believe is wrong? For example, say that you were in a car, traveling for the first time to a certain place. You have a road map, but you have not taken time to check it carefully. Someone has told you the road to take. You trust him, sincerely believing that the way he has directed you is correct. But suppose it is not. What if someone points out the error? What if he, by referring to your own map, shows that you are on the wrong road? Would pride or stubbornness prevent you from admitting that you are on the wrong road? Well, then, if you learn from an examination of your Bible that you are traveling a wrong religious road, be willing to change. Avoid the broad road to destruction; get on the narrow road to life! - Pg. 32 20
Therefore, in view of this fine counsel from the Watchtower Society, we as Jehovah's Witnesses the world over, certainly should be more than willing to `examine' our present beliefs concerning 1914, in the light of the Holy Scriptures, wouldn't you say? Yes, we should be willing to take another look at Charles T. Russell as well as the present day teachings of the Watchtower Society concerning this particular date of 1914, to see if we have been really exalting Truth or "foolishness," in our door-to-door, yes house-to-house ministry. Think about it.
MAKING THE VITAL POINT USING THE BOOK OF DANIEL
Therefore, when we think again of the book of Daniel being "sealed up" until the "time of the end," this vital point comes to mind:
If the Watchtower Society openly admits that Charles Taze Russell DID NOT live during the "presence of our Lord," and, he DID NOT live during the "time of the end," since 1914, as the Jehovah Witnesses say, when the book of Daniel was to be "unsealed" - then how could Russell know anything?
And so, we of the YORWW Congregation must ask this very important question to the Watchtower Society:
How could Charles Taze Russell have known THE DATE or any other pertinent information concerning a date for Christ's Parousia in 1876 - information that was specifically and clearly stated to be sealed until entering the "time of the end" beginning in 1914?
Yes, how could Charles Russell and literally thousands of his followers (International Bible Students) have come in possession of "sealed" information from the book of Daniel, yes "rove about" even in "true knowledge" 38 years BEFORE that book of the Bible could be unsealed in 1914? (1 Corinthians 4:6)
Really, the Watchtower Society cannot have it both ways. Either the Bible book of Daniel was "sealed" or it was not! C.T. Russell believed it was "unsealed" during his day because of his erroneous belief that he was living in the "time of the end." That is why he believed he had THE DATE - 1914! Accordingly, what the Society teaches on this matter, is a contradiction in itself, when you really, really think about it!
However, again, notice this comment from the Society's publications on the matter. It inconceivably says:
"He [Russell] had correctly linked the Gentile Times with the `seven times' mentioned in the book of Daniel. (Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32) True to such calculations, 1914 did mark the end of those times and the birth of God's kingdom in heaven with Christ Jesus as king. Just think of it! Jehovah granted his people that knowledge nearly four decades before those times expired." (See 1975 Yearbook, pg. 37, 2.)
But again, we ask: Jehovah `granted his people what knowledge four decades in advance?' Actually, the facts reveal CT Russell did not have anything correct, relative to the teaching of the doctrine of 1914...when you really, really think about. Nevertheless, the Watchtower Society wants their membership to believe that the book of Daniel was, in effect, unsealed for Pastor Russell and his followers 38 years before the "time of the end!" Isn't that what they are saying? Think about it. And, if that were the case, obviously that would mean that Jehovah God does not respect His own Word! No, because Jehovah God gave "sealed" information 38 years prior to the "time of the end." Now, does that seem reasonable to you? When have we known Jehovah to go against His own Word? NEVER! - Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18.
Therefore, it is obvious that the most important evidence that could be presented which could cause sincere seekers of Truth to doubt the validity of the mathematical formula as well as Russell's date of 1914 is this: it's origination came before the "time of the end" - before the book of Daniel could be "unsealed!" Yes, BEFORE 1914 - the date the Society says starts the "time of the end!" - Watchtower 8/1/81 pg. 23 par. 8
Realistically, regardless of whatever the date of Kingdom Power by Jesus Christ is, 1914 or any other date, NO ONE could know 38 years in advance! Again, that would be in direct contradiction to the aforementioned scriptures in Daniel. And we know, Jehovah NEVER contradicts His Word! His Word always proves true! Think about it. - Isaiah 55:11; Romans 3:4.
End of Part 2
Click here to read THE TEACHING OF 1914 ... "SACRED SECRET" OR FALSE DOCTRINE -- WHICH? Part 3