Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Does anyone know some facts about Charles T Russell?

Charles Taze Russell the founder of the WatchTower Society was introduced to the King James Bible belief that 6000 years had arrived in 1872 AD by the Adventists at the age of 21 in 1873 AD (Acts 13:20 as 450 years judges).

By age 22 in 1874 AD he had been taught that Daniel's prophecies counted to 1894 AD. And from this he perceived the 7 times to 1914 AD giving him the impression that Christ's coming advent would be an invisible presence for the first 40 years of the 1000 years.

He published in Adventist paper in 1876 AD at age 24 but created his own WatchTower magazine in 1877 AD at 25 and republished it.

Does anyone have any additional interesting facts about this character, and where the date of 1914 originated from?

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Charles Taze Russell was born on February 16, 1852 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was raised as a Presbyterian Congregationalist but could not reconcile the concept of a loving God with a literal place of eternal torment. Russell came from a wealthy family.

    When Russell was 23 years old he came under the influence of Adventist Nelson H Barbour and his belief that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, although Adventist William Miller had previously claimed the second coming was due around 1843. Barbour and his group rendered 'coming' as 'presence' and came up with the view that the Second Coming was an invisible event. Russell and Barbour believed that Christ's invisible return in 1874 would be followed (in the spring of 1878) by the Rapture. When the Rapture failed to materialise, Barbour came up with 'new light' on this and other doctrines, but Russell was not persuaded.

    Russell withdrew from the Adventist movement (which went on to become the Seventh-Day Adventist Church under the leadership of Ellen G. White). In 1874 Russell established a religious group known as Bible Students. In July 1879 Russell published Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence. In 1882 Russell openly rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. Up until that point the literature had been Trinitarian in theology. Russell died in 1916.

    The 1874 date for the invisible second presence was still being advocated up till 1927 (see 1927 publication 'Creation', page 319 and Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 1 May 1881). I'm trying to locate the first publication that switched from 1874 to 1914 and will post an edit when I find it. (EDIT: go to link in source)

    The 1914 date is arrived at by interpreting prophecies in Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation and is based upon the incorrect belief that Jerusalem was trampled on by the Babylonians in 607 B.C. Historians and reputable scholars put the destruction of Jerusalem around 587 or 586 B.C. but Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to accept the factual evidence presented by professionals. They must stick to 1914 because everything they say about the end of 6,000 years of man's history since Adam and Eve and the coming millennial reign of Christ (after Armageddon) hinges on that date. Take away 1914 and you take away the main pillar of their religious beliefs.

    The name, 'Jehovah's Witnesses' was introduced in 1931 at the convention in Columbus, Ohio by Mr Rutherford (who liked to be called Judge Rutherford because of his legal background), the 2nd president of the Bible Students. The original Jehovah's Witness doctrines come from Adventism - and Jehovah's Witnesses today continue to declare that the end of this wicked system of things is imminent (even though it's 150 years overdue) and that Christ Jesus' second coming happened invisibly in 1914.

    Please note that there is no such thing as the 'King James Bible' - it is known as the Authorised Version (because King James authorised it to be published). King James had nothing to do with the translations which were done by a body of learned scholars. Also the belief that 6,000 years since Adam and Eve arrived in 1975 (as currently thought) has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Authorised Version of the Bible - that interpretation of chronology is purely the result of man-made calculations. Nowhere in any Bible is there a date for 6,000 years of human existence since Adam and Eve. The Bible clearly states that no man knows the day or the hour - only God knows - and we are warned against trying to find out. Interestingly, the society is busy changing its former belief that the generation alive in 1914 would be the generation alive to see the new system ushered in (after Armageddon). Seems they've had 'new light' and they can now push forward the time frame.

    Edit: The shift from 1874 to 1914 was accomplished because Russell said the earliest years of the millennium would not be marked by cataclysmic changes. He said the restoration to paradice perfection would be gradual and, at first, imperceptible to all but the few who had insight. The Millennial Dawn would be marked by reforms in political, social, economic and industrial life (The Time is at Hand, page 199 - published 1889). After Russell died the 1916 edition of Thy Kingdom Come contained sublte changes:

    "That the deliverance of the saints must take place very soon AFTER 1914 is manifest" and "Just how long AFTER 1914 the last living members of the body of Christ will be glorified, we are not directly informed." The pre 1916 editions said BEFORE 1914! From then on, Rutherford gradually dismantled Russell's chronology and got George H. Fisher and Clayton J. Woodworth to write a 7th volume of Studies in the Scriptures.

    "By about the beginning of the1930's the limit has been reached of that part of the process which may be described as adapting Russell's system. The amendments which were to follow amounted to the construction of a new and very different system... Rutherford's amendments, during the early years of his presidency, of what had been inherited from Russell was, on the face of it, largely a matter of reassignment of developments which had been expected in 1914 to new dates." (Counting the Days to Armageddon by Robert Crompton, pp 101-102)

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  • 1 decade ago

    Russell was a phrenologist and I once had some documentation that he at one time taught that your capacity for spirituality was determined by the shape of your head and Black people could never be spiritual of close to God because their heads were the wrong shape. I have been for some years unsuccessfully trying to find that documentation again. What I had burned up in a fire that also destroyed the entire apartment building. I once had a personal library of close to 5,000 books on religion. I have studied more religions than most people know exist. Oh, he also taught that illnesses and diseases of all kinds were caused by little worms eating your insides. He also was an avid Egyptologist and read a great deal into the dimensions and positions of the pyramids. I have been up for over 24 hours and am feeling mentally fuzzy right now compared to how I usually feel. I am drawing a blank on the precise reason regarding 1914 other than he had made and missed prophetic dates and happenings and kept pushing it back. If I can I will add some later in an edit. I can tell you this, the date of 1914 is off by 70 years and the return is not at all an invisible one.

    The Adventists, Sunday Adventists, Seventh Day Adventists, Christadelphians and others were were an offshoot of Millerism, as well. William Miller (February 15, 1782 – 1849) believed that Christ was supposed to return in 1843, then on realizing there was no year 0 changed it to 1844. October 22, 1844 was the final day it could have happened and came to be known as the Day of Disappointment.

    Oh, I remember the February 15 date because of the birthday of someone I know personally and know well.

    By the way, I suspect that of the ones who had to offer something constructive, I am the only one who did it completely from memory.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I know that if you look at the actual date of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem - discovered *after* the time of Russell - you will discover that the Jehovah's Witness 1914 math is off by several years (3, I believe). It is based on the date believed to be accurate in the 1800s - a date that was always hypothetical and which has been discovered to be inaccurate with the discovery of Babylonian tablets that record the event and relate it to a Lunar Eclipse. We even know the **month** in which the Babylonians captured Jerusalem - something unknown in Russel's day.

    The only answer I have ever gotten from Jehovah's Witnesses is, "I go by the date in the WatchTower literature". In other words, they continue to use a date that has been invalidated by archaeological evidence. This is one of the reasons that I rejected the Jehovah's Witness doctrine - because they (in this case) refuse to correct an obviously erroneous prophecy, apparently on the grounds that the date 1914 is too well-established in their doctrine for them to consider correcting it.


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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I know very little about him but when I get around to it I will study a little more into him.

    I really see little relevance in what he taught or believed accept to say he was the founder of a great religion but from what I can tell the faith he is considered by many to be the father of has grown in bible knowledge & I dare say what he believed is very different to what is understood to be the truth .

    I am sure he was a great man but the truth of the bible stands still for no one & all glory belongs to Jehovah ,the one true God & the God of Jesus & the real Father of the Jehovah's Witnesses .

    The 1914 date came from a prophecy about a tree banded if I recall correctly & the way the world changed I think it was correct.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The sect now known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses was started by Charles Taze Russell, who was born in 1852 and worked in Pittsburgh as a haberdasher. He was raised a Congregationalist, but at the age of seventeen he tried to convert an atheist to Christianity and ended up being converted instead—not to outright atheism, but to agnosticism. Some years later he went to an Adventist meeting, was told that Jesus would be back at any time, and got interested in the Bible.

    The leading light of Adventism had been William Miller, a flamboyant preacher who predicted that the world would end in 1843. When it didn’t, he "discovered" an arithmetical error in his eschatological calculations and said it would end in 1844. When his prediction again failed, many people became frustrated and withdrew from the Adventist movement, but a remnant, led by Ellen G. White, went on to form the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

    It was this diminished Adventism which influenced Russell, who took the title "Pastor" even though he never got through high school. In 1879, he began the Watch Tower—what would later be known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the teaching organ of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1908 he moved its headquarters to Brooklyn, where it has remained ever since.

    Before he got his religious career well underway, Russell promoted what he called "miracle wheat," which he sold at sixty dollars per bushel. He claimed it would grow five times as well as regular wheat. In fact, it grew slightly less well than regular wheat, as was established in court when Russell was sued. Later he marketed a fake cancer cure and what he termed a "millennial bean" (which a wag has said probably got that name because it took a thousand years to sprout).

    Unusual Doctrines

    Russell taught his followers the non-existence of hell and the annihilation of unsaved people (a doctrine he picked up from the Adventists), the non-existence of the Trinity (he said only the Father, Jehovah, is God), the identification of Jesus with Michael the Archangel, the reduction of the Holy Spirit from a person to a force, the mortality (not immortality) of the soul, and the return of Jesus in 1914.

    When 1914 had come and gone, with no Jesus in sight, Russell modified his teachings and claimed Jesus had, in fact, returned to Earth, but that his return was invisible. His visible return would come later, but still very soon. It would result in the final conflict between God and the Devil—the forces of good and the forces of evil—in which God would be victorious. This conflict is known to Witnesses as the battle of Armageddon, and just about everything the Witnesses teach centers around this doctrine.

    Russell died in 1916 and was succeeded by "Judge" Joseph R. Rutherford. Rutherford, born in 1869, had been brought up as a Baptist and became the legal adviser to the Watch Tower. He never was a real judge, but took the title because, as an attorney, he substituted at least once for an absent judge.

    At one time he claimed Russell was next to Paul as an expounder of the gospel, but later, in an effort to have his writings supplant Russell’s, he let Russell’s books go out of print. It was Rutherford who coined the slogan, "Millions now living will never die." By it he meant that some people alive in 1914 would still be alive when Armageddon came and the world was restored to a paradise state.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1914 is the time that finished a prophecy that is in the book of Daniel the begining of the end´s times it doesn´t matter if you don´t believe it...the history give us the reason saying that the world change it that year.

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  • 1 decade ago

    1914 is figured from the prophecies recorded in the book of Daniel.

    Jesus himself referred to these same prophecies in Matthew 24:15 and Luke 21:24.

    If you would like a detailed explanation of the 7 times of Daniel, please email me.

    You might also want to check a publication printed by Jehovah's Witnesses entitled :Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom" for source information about Charles Russell and others who were active at that time - George Storrs is another (well known by Jehovah's Witnesses) in helping to develop a need for examining and studying the Bible.

    The study groups formed by these men and others form the foundation of the 103,000 congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, where we still take time from our lives to examine, study, and research the Bible, and see the need for its guidance in our everyday lives.

    All are welcome to attend our public meetings and observe this for themselves.

    Source(s): One of Jehovah's Witnesses
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  • no, i prefer Russell T. Pot

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