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April 20 – Early Watchtower History – Russell, Rutherford, Bible Students – Old Light vs. New Light

Bible Student Elder, David Stein leads a round table discussion on this topic.  Joining him were the three Early Watchtower Historians below:

Jim Parkinson: Bible Scholar, Translator and early Watchtower Historian

Eric Patterson:  Since first going online in 1996, Eric Patterson’s Pastor Russell website has been seen by 20 million people worldwide.  Pastor-Russell.com has been noted in numerous media and academic sources.   Eric Patterson has written the article on Charles Taze Russell for Wikipedia, and contributed heavily to the article on Judge Rutherford.

Tom Gilbert: Editor of  Charles Taze Russell: His Life and Times–The Man, the Millennium, and the Message, A Biography by Fredrick Zydek.  This book raises questions, which are answered in Charles Redeker’s book, “Pastor Russell: Messenger of Millennial Hope.”

Find more on Early Watchtower/Bible Student History by clicking here  and here and here

These historians discussed many aspects of Early Watchtower History, including:

*  The earliest years (1870s) – How the Watchtower got started and when Bro. Russell first began publicly preaching Jesus’ invisible return in 1874.

*  Transition years after Bro. Russell’s death.  How Rutherford got control of the Watchtower and transformed it into an authoritative organization.

*  When Rutherford changed key doctrines.  I.e. Ransom for all, Jewish Return to Israel, Meaning of 1914, etc.

* July 15, 2013 Watchtower Study Issue on New Light – What does it mean in light of early Watchtower history?

Interestingly, in JF Rutherford gives his famous “Advertise, Advertise, Advertise” speech on Sept 8, 1922  in Cedar Point, OH.  The 2011 JW movie, “Faith in Action” gives the impression that he refers to Jesus reign beginning in 1914.  However, in the Nov 1, 1922 Watchtower, page 332, detail of this discourse by JF Rutherford he says (paraphrasing) Jesus has been present since 1874, has since conducted the Harvest Work and during that time he fed the household of faith through a Faithful and Wise Servant [referring to Charles Taze Russell].

13 comments to April 20 – Early Watchtower History – Russell, Rutherford, Bible Students – Old Light vs. New Light

  • doug

    Does the sciptures not say that knowledge will increase,
    Bible knowledge and worldly knowledge ??

  • weldon Dearing

    would i be able to buy some bound volumes of the watchtower.

  • Anonymous

    Hi James;

    You must be quite old now? And made a lot of conventions back then?

    Thanks for sharing that oh so personal expierences of yours. And your memory is still working sharp for your old age.

    You probaly new the 107 year old brother who passed? Why he was 11 years old then.

    Do you agree the world changed and has not been the same as before then?

  • Anonymous

    Nu 14:34; Ezk 4:6; day for year-year for a day
    Dan 7:16,23,25,32; times—
    Ezk 21:25-27 607 taken off-1914 put back on
    Luke 21:24; Jesus showed they were running
    Rev. 11:2,3; 1260=1+2+a half=3 and a half
    Rev. 12:6,14;three and a half times 2=2520

    607 to 1914 =2,520 years. CTR was not the first, several ahead of him. But CTR preached 28 years in advance. And the world was changed in the fall of rhat year as historians have noted. Next year will be 100 years,

  • I’m a witness of Jehovah and I acknowledge the help provided by the brother C.T. Russell in dispensing the food to the household of faith prior to his death in 1916. However, though it may be hard to accepted by many JW’s and other so-called “Bible students”, I recognize that C.T. Russell committed some mistakes in his writings, such as in the first 6 volumes of “the Studies in the Scriptures”. Some mistakes are: the rapture of the church in 1914. He himself considered as the “faithful and wise servant”.

    What makes me wonder is how bro. Russell considered the date of 1914. as it cn be seen in the book “The midnight cry ” (published along with Nelson Barbour).

    So, be it JW’s or “Bible students”, let’s be humble and admit that the brothers, such as C.T. Russell and J. Rutherford committed mistakes in their writings.

    • Jacqueline

      Hi. Nange and thanks for commenting, I agree with you that both Brothers had some things incorrect. Also I personnally believe that if Br. Rutherford had lived to 1948 & 1967- 6day and saw the Jewish nation fulfilling the scriptures he would change and admit that the Jewish people are the witnesses. Because in 1914 with the Balfour declaration the Jews wouldn’t go home as scripture told them to. So Brother Rutherford looked for another fulfillment of those scriptures and assigned them to JW.
      Even the apostles had it wrong about when the kingdom would be established. So there is no shame in admitting you are wrong about something. The biggest difference and problem is if you force your views on others and if they disagree you subject them to disfellowshipment and divide their families that want to stay loyal to the organization.
      I also agree all of us live in glass houses and shouldn’t throw stones for fear someone picks it up and throws it back. Take Care and I really appreciate your sincere comment and mine is meant in Christian Love and sincerity also. Jacqueline

    • James P.

      This many years later there is much misunderstanding about expectations for 1914 October. There were three conventions going on simultaneously in 1914 June/July in Clinton, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; and Asbury Park, N.J. At Clinton, Bro. A.H. Macmillan (“Bro. Mac”) was insisting that anyone who did not believe Oct. 1 would come and end it all was in danger of second death. Two other talks agreed with him.
      At Columbus, Bro. George B. Raymond (former Baptist preacher) was saying,”…I am going to quote that Tower again. We are coming down to the close of it, that servant says, whether it is five, ten or twenty years, we are still coming down to the close of it, aren’t we? So let us be ready. It might be tonight. It might be next week, or next month. It may be September instead of October, or it might be November instead of October or September either one. It might be this night or it might be next year. You don’t know. Let us be ready; ready now.” Two other talks agreed with him. Estella Ott (then of upstate N.Y.) said, When October 1 came and went, we didn’t think anything of it; we were at the Columbus convention.
      Asbury Park had two talks for, and two against, October 1.
      Only Bro. Russell seemed to be quite willing to have it either way.

    • James P.

      Concerning “That Servant:” A 1909 question: “Who is that servant? Do you believe and acknowledge the statement as put forth by representatives of the ‘Watch Tower?’”
      A. “As far as I know nearly all the talk about ‘that servant’ has been by my enemies. I have nothing to say about this subject. What I would say would not change matters anyway. You have your right to your opinion and they have their right to theirs. In the fourth [sixth] chapter of the sixth volume of ‘Millennial Dawn,’ this Scripture is brought to your attention. That is all that I have ever written on the subject.”
      [Perhaps this answer implies Vol. 4, chapter XII, page 613, was written by Maria F. Russell.]

  • A Friend

    James, I would suggest acting upon that knowledge of his name and using it would demonstrate our willingness to grow in our understanding of the Father, which would bring tremendous blessings. – John 17:3

  • A Friend

    To Jimmy from the call:

    Fyi, Rotherham used Yahweh in his Bible translation, however later when he write Studies in the Psalms he used Jehovah due to its common acceptance.

    • James

      A Friend: – Good observation. More significant than the pronunciation is the meaning of the name. Will suggest: YHVH, or Ye-HaVaH, “continuing (Y-) being (HVH)”, implying He is the hope of everlasting life. J. Parkinson

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