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JW Insider

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  1. I agree with you 100% that it's possible to mix them up. In fact, "@Patiently. . ." was on the right track when he asked: Specifically, when Jesus said "the harvest is great" he seems to refer to the importance and urgency of the preaching work during any time in history. There was an urgency during the first century and there is an urgency now. However, when Jesus said, "the harvest is the synteleia of the age" (NWT: "the harvest is a conclusion of the system of the things" this was specifically using the term "harvest" in the sense of a final gathering up of those "chosen" (the wheat) from among the "weeds." As you said, separate illustrations don't have to be referring to the exact same aspect of an idea, just because the subject appears to be the same. I should have acknowledged @Patiently's original question more clearly rather than by just saying ". . . this 'harvest' (or perhaps, 'a harvest') . . . " To me, and you, there is no reason to mix the meanings of the general "preaching" harvest and the "end-times" gathering of the wheat and weeds (or the gathering/harvest of the chosen ones). But this doesn't mean there is no connection. In fact, even though we've had this conversation before where this separation between two harvests has already been made, I was still acknowledging that there is a logical connection, as the Watchtower publications have also claimed. In the God's Kingdom Rules book for example, chapter 9 contains the following discussion, which also ties together these same verses (which you might claim was like mixing up Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood). *** kr chap. 9 pp. 88-95 pars. 5-21 Results of Preaching—“The Fields . . . Are White for Harvesting” *** In a vision given to the apostle John, Jehovah reveals that he assigned Jesus to take the lead in a global harvest of people. (Read Revelation 14:14-16.) In this vision, Jesus is described as having a crown and a sickle. The “golden crown on [Jesus’] head” confirms his position as ruling King. The “sharp sickle in his hand” confirms his role as Harvester. By stating through an angel that “the harvest of the earth is fully ripe,” Jehovah emphasizes that the work is urgent. Indeed, “the hour has come to reap”—there is no time for delay! In response to God’s command “put your sickle in,” Jesus thrusts in his sickle, and the earth is reaped—that is, people of the earth are reaped. This exciting vision reminds us that again “the fields . . . are white for harvesting.” Does this vision help us to determine when this global harvest began? Yes! 6 Since John’s vision in Revelation chapter 14 shows Jesus, the Harvester, wearing a crown (verse 14), his appointment as King in 1914 had already taken place. (Dan. 7:13, 14) Sometime after that, Jesus is commanded to start the harvest (verse 15). The same order of events is seen in Jesus’ parable about the harvest of the wheat, where he states: “The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things.” Thus, the harvest season and the conclusion of this system of things began at the same time—in 1914. Later “in the harvest season,” the actual harvesting began. (Matt. 13:30, 39) [Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest season, I will tell the reapers: First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up; then gather the wheat into my storehouse.’” . . . and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels.] Looking back from our vantage point in time, we can see that the harvest began some years after Jesus started ruling as King. First, from 1914 until the early part of 1919, Jesus carried out a cleansing work among his anointed followers. . . . Then, in 1919, “the harvest of the earth” began. Without delay, Jesus used the newly appointed faithful slave to help our brothers see the urgency of the preaching work. . . . Since 1919, zealous harvest workers have been gathered into the restored Christian congregation. . . . 20 In the first century, Jesus helped his apostles to see that the harvest work was urgent. From 1919 onward, Jesus has helped his modern-day disciples to grasp the same truth. In response, God’s people have intensified their activities. In fact, the harvest work has proved to be unstoppable. As foretold by the prophet Malachi, the preaching work is being carried out today “from the rising of the sun to its setting.” (Mal. 1:11) Yes, from sunrise to sunset—from east to west, no matter where they are on earth—sowers and reapers work and rejoice together. And from sunrise to sunset—from morning till evening, or all day long—we work with a sense of urgency. 21 As we look back today over some 100 years and see how a small group of God’s servants has grown into “a mighty nation,” our heart does indeed “throb and overflow” with joy. (Isa. 60:5, 22) May that joy and our love for Jehovah, “the Master of the harvest,” impel each one of us to keep on doing our share in completing the greatest harvest of all time!—Luke 10:2. [Then he said to them: “Yes, the harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.] The chapter in "kr" also tried to deal with the problem of timing in order to date the harvest of the conclusion of the system of things beginning after Jesus becomes king, and showing that the harvest would begin some time later. The article times these two events at 1914 and 1919, of course.
  2. I think you asked an excellent question here. Last year, I think, you were part of the conversation where the point was made that this verse seems like an exception to the more general idea in the Bible that the end, last day, his parousia, the synteleia, end of all things, his manifestation, his appearance, his revelation, the day of the Lord, Jehovah's day, the harvest, trumpet call, judgment day, resurrection, etc. all refer (generally) to a single, great future apocalyptic event of unknown duration. While that entire apocalyptic event is still future, Christians are told to keep it in mind, and expect that it can occur suddenly, at any time, as if without warning. Yet, this verse in Matthew definitely refers to the harvest as if it can cover a long period of time. The disciples themselves were part of this "harvesting" work. The analogy here was not wheat (sheaves), but sheep, who would be gathered into the fold. (Matthew 10:5-7) These 12 Jesus sent out, giving them these instructions: “Do not go off into the road of the nations, and do not enter any Sa·marʹi·tan city; 6 but instead, go continually to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, preach, saying: ‘The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’ (Matthew 10:23) . . .for truly I say to you, you will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives. It would not be time to begin gathering (or bringing in) other sheep until after Jesus died. (John 10) This is just an idea, but I think the solution is related to what I said before on the issue of the kingdom, the last day, the conclusion/end (synteleia), etc. I doubt that I made the made the point very well in the post on the previous page (from 3 days ago). I'll try to make it again. Keep in mind that it will be a similar point that the Watchtower articles have grappled with when speaking about why, if Jesus came into his Kingdom in 1914, we should still pray for that Kingdom to come: *** w07 9/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers *** When Jesus came into his Kingdom authority in 1914, *** ws14 1/15 p. 26 par. 2 “Let Your Kingdom Come”—But When? *** As Bible students, we know that God’s Kingdom came in 1914 when Jesus was made King in heaven. *** w14 1/15 pp. 27-28 par. 2 “Let Your Kingdom Come”—But When? *** As Bible students, we know that in one sense God’s Kingdom came in 1914 when Jesus was installed as King in heaven. But we know that more is involved in response to the prayer “Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matt. 6:10) Clearly, that includes the end of the present wicked system. Only when that occurs can God’s will be done on earth as it is being done in heaven. In fact, with all the renewed "anniversary" emphasis on 1914 in the year 2014, the WTS decided to add a new song to the songbook, manually, that most Witnesses printed out on paper from jw.org and carried with them to the KH. The song was clearly meant to face the potential contradiction head on. As stated before, the problem is not just the "kingdom" or the "harvest." Note: The kingdom is coming, but Jesus also said it was already in their midst: (Luke 17:21) . . .For look! the Kingdom of God is in your midst.” The early Christians were awaiting the time to become kings and priests but were already made a kingdom of priests: (Revelation 1:6) 6 and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father. . . (Ephesians 2:6) . . .Moreover, he raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus, We are awating Jesus' manifestation, yet Peter and Hebrews said he was already made manifest: (1 Peter 1:20) .20 True, he was foreknown before the founding of the world, but he was made manifest at the end of the times for the sake of YOU (Hebrews 9:26-27) . . .But now he has manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things to put sin away through the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is reserved for men to die once for all time, but after this a judgment, We expect that Satan is not completely cast down until the final battle in heaven is complete, yet: (John 12:31) . . .Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. (Luke 10:18) At that he said to them: “I see Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven. . . The day of the Lord, the day of salvation was future, yet: (2 Corinthians 6:2) . . .Look! Now is the day of salvation. We are awaiting the last day, the last hour: (John 6:54) . . .and I will resurrect him on the last day; (John 12:48) . . .The word that I have spoken is what will judge him on the last day. Yet, the "last hour" was already here in the first century: (1 John 2:18) . . .Young children, it is the last hour, and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared, from which fact we know that it is the last hour. Last days: (Acts 2:16, 17) . . .this is what was said through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I will pour out some of my spirit . . . Paul explained that it was because they were in the last days that Timothy was seeing critical times hard to deal with: (2 Timothy 3:1-14) . . .But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, . . . 8 Now in the way that Janʹnes and Jamʹbres opposed Moses, so these also go on opposing the truth. . . . as it was with those two men. 10 But you have closely followed my teaching,. . . 13 But wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled. 14 You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from whom you learned them Hebrews 1:2, from the literal Greek, also says the same: (Hebrews 1:2) 2 Now [in the last days] he has spoken to us by means of a Son,. . . And it's similar with this harvest or gathering of the chosen ones, at the last trumpet: (Matthew 24:31) . . .And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity. (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52) . . .we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we will be changed. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; 16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. 17 Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds. . . Yet, this "harvest" (or perhaps, "a harvest") or gathering can also be spoken of as going on all along since the first century: (Matthew 9:37-10:1) . . .“Yes, the harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” 10:1 So he summoned his 12 disciples and gave them authority . . . (2 Corinthians 9:10) . . .Now the One who abundantly supplies seed to the sower and bread for eating will supply and multiply the seed for you to sow and will increase the harvest of your righteousness.) The explanation, I think, although it might sound a bit strained, is simply that the word about the coming parousia, synteleia, kingdom, harvest, etc., is so sure that we see should see it as if being fulfilled now. It helps us to see --through faith-- and therefore we are better prepared for the potential troubles of this system, even those which may threaten and take our lives. We may die, yet still "happily" await the harvest, because the things we do (in faith) go right with us. (Revelation 14:13-16) And I heard a voice out of heaven say, “Write: Happy are the dead who die in union with the Lord from this time onward. Yes, says the spirit, let them rest from their labors, for the things they did go right with them.” 14 Then I saw, and look! a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Another angel emerged from the temple sanctuary, calling with a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud: “Put your sickle in and reap, because the hour has come to reap, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 And the one seated on the cloud thrust his sickle into the earth, and the earth was reaped. It's about the sureness of the promise, and therefore keeping that day "close in mind." (2 Peter 1:10-21) 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and choosing sure for yourselves, for if you keep on doing these things, you will by no means ever fail. 11 In fact, in this way you will be richly granted entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.. . .16 No, it was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. . .19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place (until day dawns and a daystar rises) in your hearts. (2 Peter 3:12) as you await and keep close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah,. . .
  3. If you mean you are leaving the entire forum, I wish you weren't. I'll miss you, and so will several others, I'm sure. If you do mean the entire forum, then I hope all goes well. You've added a lot of important points over the last few years, in my opinion.
  4. I finished the entire interview. I would have had 100 questions. Then I was surprised that Barbara Anderson came on and actually asked her a lot of the questions I would have asked. I don't think this is so hard to figure out. She admits that her father probably gave her drugs, that her mother was a "weakling" who wouldn't have spoken up. She admits that her father made all the arrangements, and that it went on from the time she was about 3 until she was 15, but that this "activity" where she describes her demon as an entity that protected her, allowing her to become someone else, actually rarely happened again after she was 9. She also says that her relationship with her father deteriorated greatly at age 12. When she confronted her father, he said it was what it was. (Oddly, she also says that she must have fallen asleep right after these "sessions" and had no memory of it until waking up to go to school the next day.) The ability of a religious person to manipulate a victim often involves finding an analogy between light and darkness in scripture or "rationale" that makes them feel special or knowledgeable. In her case it was her father's "logic" about the sun and moon all being a part of the same good day. (Greater and lesser luminary, light and dark.) I don't want to judge her or her father but, unfortunately, almost every detail lends support to a theory that she was abused by her father, and needed to find a way to finally suppress the actuality of incest. Most abuse victims suppress it well enough never to feel a need to talk about it until 40 or more years later. When she was seeking out Bill Bowen and Barbara Anderson, which she had "forgotten," but Barbara remembered, this would have been around the year 2000, when she felt she was running for her life -- and admits that she began her involvement in the occult. Both of those ex-JWs specialized in sexual abuse. She remained in denial for 15 years by pioneering, but then appears to still be in denial of the purpose for which she would have sought out Bowen and Anderson. I believe that most all the details she needed to keep it suppressed under a different cover were just becoming available in 2000 when she says she was asked if she remembered this and that from other people who had been through similar experiences. She gives plenty of evidence that her "memories" are not from experience but from things she read, probably mixed them with just enough real memories. She was unaware that these tunnels hadn't been built yet, when she claimed to have seen them, and she had the tiling wrong, the color wrong, the lights wrong, etc. She claims she knew these persons well, and called them all by their names, but uses the pronunciation "Jaracks" for Jaracz (which is pronounced Jerrus). That's evidence of memories through reading. She got Sister Sydlik's description completely wrong, although I'd guess it might easily fit descriptions of her on jehovahs-witnesses.com. She finally admitted that her memory might have been based on an aunt of hers instead. I said above that, based on her timeline, she would likely have been cementing these "necessary memories" around 2000. This is also evidenced by her "memory" that Brother Swingle smelled like ink. Well, I've worked right next to him in his office, and he didn't smell like ink in 1976-1982. No one else I knew ever said they thought he did either, but curiously it was only in the year 2001, that the Watchtower first mentioned this (July 1, 2001): Lyman Swingle began his service at Jehovah’s Witnesses’ world headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, on April 5, 1930. He served there for nearly 71 years. Lyman was first assigned to the bindery, then to the pressroom, and he also helped make ink. In fact, Brother Swingle spent about 25 years in the ink room. He also served for some 20 years as a member of the headquarters’ writing staff. For the final 17 years of his life, he worked in the Treasurer’s Office. -
      Hello guest!
    Except for the first couple years, he was actually an administrator/manager in the ink room. No one I knew ever thought he smelled like ink, because he didn't. Creating a "memory" out of something one reads during a time when one needs those memories for suppressive purposes is understandable. (For similar examples, watch "Professor T," a well-written series on PBS.
      Hello guest!
    ) [The first episode, "Anatomy of a Memory" is free on the pbs site.] There are many more items like this. The blue color of her robes, seems it could have come from Clayton Woodworth's description of the blue cloth related to his own demon possession. The problematic nature of the book "Angels and Women" is something you can read about, but she had absolutely no knowledge of the inside contents of the book, except for the summary phrases using the exact expressions from Golden Age comments "about" the book. Yet she says it was read to her every night as a bedtime book by her father. There is never anything definitive about these cases, but I have to say that everything can be seen to fit the patterns of sexual abuse cases perpetrated by the father. I feel terribly for the woman.
  5. I have a set of about two dozen children's books where each book includes a child's imaginary friend and the interactions with that friend. I would never read these to my children, but psychologists say it is extremely common. I realized when talking to my 5 year old granddaughter at age 2 she was already talking a lot about an imaginary friend. When she was three and four she also gave ages ranging from 5 to 25 to her dolls and stuffed animals and tells me stories about how each of them get along with each other. I don't recall anything so creative about myself or my own three children. We had a brother from Florida/Bahamas in our congregation, the brother who handled the literature counter, and he was always telling stories about ghosts and demon possession from back home. Sometimes a crowd of young sisters would gather around the literature counter and I could correctly guess that he was telling another ghost story. But I also recognized that some of his stories were just plain old superstitions, or stories that turned out to be false, but that many people believe, such as snakes that turn themselves in a hoop and roll down hills to attack, or eat their own tails until just a snake head remains, etc. I was nearby when an elder told him to stop telling these stories, and he was defensive about how everyone should know the machinations of the Devil. My wife and I studied with a couple who both claimed to hear demons in the house breaking dishes and whatnot. They always made a big deal about how they both heard it at the same time, and it wasn't boiler pipes, or rats, etc. (or ravens: Never Morse! Never Morse!) But it caught my attention that their attempts to call out Jehovah's name would sometimes work for only one of them, not the other, and which one was helped would sometimes be reversed. They both ended up being baptized and are still doing well, but they also told me later that at the time they were experimenting with sexual aberrations, wife-swapping, etc., and now they think it was their "guilt" talking, and maybe some drugs, too.
  6. Thanks for responding. As soon as I opened "6 screens" I knew I would have trust issues with the video, because I have known completely false information in the past to come from that site on the only other video I have watched from them so far. And then I noticed that this 'tl;dw' too long ; don't watch. But I might get to it another time. I did watch 5 minutes and lost interest after the kinds of admissions made in those first few minutes. An an early mistake caught my attention. It won't mean much unless there are other similar ones, which may or may not come up later. (It was the idea that the arrangement just before the elder arrangement was the "company servant." The actual sequence was "company servant" a very long time ago, before her birth, then for many years the "congregation servant," and then the "elder arrangement" (with the "presiding overseer" and more recently "chairman of the BOE"). It's possible evidence she's confused what she's read with what she's experienced.) The potential of this resulting from CSA trauma also fits a couple of her descriptions and even a potential Freudian slip or two: For example: When she accidentally uses the the word "insect" for "incense" (at 00:05:16) she just happens to use two words that could phonetically combine to "incest." And then she relates it to a "bunch of men" in the woods watching her in "her little blue robes" which might give away more than she thinks she is giving away. And her subsequent protest that this wasn't a CSA experience rings hollow. This Freudian theory sounds like a stretch, I'm sure, but I don't know if you are aware that this exact same Freudian slip was already made to be the key to a 1995 movie about CSA called "ANGELS and INSECTS." Spoiler alert: In the move, the problem with the girl is discovered when the solver rearranges the word INSECT to spell INCEST, and the entomological and etymological conflation finally explains all her obsessions. It's almost too much that she will then, you say, go on to make use of the title "ANGELS and WOMEN" in the same video. It smacks of being a test case for Bruno Bettelheim's famous 1976 book: "The Uses of Enchantment." Anyway, as interesting as it might be, there is also the area of demon possession which I know nothing about, and don't intend to learn about either. This may mean that no matter how much I think I could learn from it, I will never wish to wrap my head around this type of experience. It just becomes a matter of prayer and supplication, and I can say no more.
  7. I assume you already know that I don't have any power to ban people from this forum. And I wouldn't ban anyone anyway, because I don't believe it's a good or useful thing to do. I think everyone comes to these forums for their own reasons. Mine are different from yours obviously. But I don't think I have any more right to be here than you do. I don't know the owner of the forum, and I'm not always happy with the way things go all the time, but it's not my forum, and he or she or they can run it as wished. I'm tired of it at times, but I still like to share what I learn, and learn if what I have shared has been thought about in a different way by others. The most important thing for me is to share things in such a way that they might attract some others who are equally willing to discuss the same issues that have caused concern for me or other WItnesses, and who have found solutions or counterpoints to the specific issues raised. I understand where you are coming from. And based on things you have said, I would agree that the easiest way to handle issues I have brought up (when you disagree) is to simply think of me as an apostate, or think of me as dishonest, or badly motivated. It's not possible for you to think of me as a brother, and I admit that it stings a bit, but I understand that I have no reason to take it personally on a forum, where I am not here in person. And I would not be able to be so honest if I were here in person, anyway. But this in no way keeps me from thinking of you as a sister, and understanding the predicament. If an apostate said any of the things I am saying, you would not need to be the least bit concerned with giving any kind of answer or response. You could merely ignore it, or simply state that you disagree. And you might even want to spit a bit of venom my way. It's probably natural. I understand that it is my own fault if I create discomfort for some, in the same way that these questions once created discomfort for me. Some still do create a lot of discomfort for me, but I will still be honest about these issues, especially if I am going to find someone else who has found a solution that works for them, and might also work better for me. The way I have come to see it is this: that in order to provoke an honest response I sometimes need to state the issue as honestly as I think it's possible to state it. There are many examples right here under this same topic. In a previous post here, I could have said, for example: I don't think that Russell should be seen as having a special part in the fulfillment of Malachi 3 because I think it's possible he lied in court and it's possible he showed himself to be hypocritical and it's possible he was presumptuous and it's possible he was dishonest in other ways. That might be a bit provocative but it would not be likely to elicit a real thought-out defense of why Russell should have a part in fulfilling Malachi 3. It just makes it more likely that someone will simply respond: OK maybe Russell did some of those things, and maybe he didn't, so let's just give him the benefit of the doubt, and go with the WTS publications that involve Russell's work in the fulfillment of Malachi 3. It's not that claim would have been dishonest, because I do believe "it's possible" when I spoke about those things I believed were possible. But it would be more honest if I stated my more honest belief that it's not only possible, but very true that Russell lied in court, for example. This way, I might elicit a solution from someone who actually also knows that it is true. Or a responder might show that they are just as concerned with the Bible issue in Malachi by asking for the reference about Russell. And if If they don't believe it, but also don't show any interest in the evidence, then I already know that they probably don't really care about the Bible problem involved, and have probably misunderstood it to be a sly way to take a "dig" at Russell, or relay some embarrassing history. And this will tell me something right away about the level of seriousness the person has about the Biblical issue. And some will be expected to simply give a downvote to the very idea, or make a judgment about me that implies bringing up an issue (honestly) makes me apostate or demon-possessed. That's another way to handle the discomfort, and I can't judge them for it. It's the same way I tried to handle the same discomfort for a while. I can't take it personally for that reason. It's my own doing, since I am not trying to couch everything in easy terms here as I would do in my congregation. And perhaps it's merely that I am the wrong kind of person to ask about such issues. Using another more common example, we would allow, or even expect an apostate to ask about the "overlapping lifespans" making up the latest definition of the generation. But if a Witness herself asks, it is considered possible evidence of apostasy, depending on how seriously they feel they need to present the question. If someone were to say, "Hey, I don't really have much of a problem with it, and I can see it going either way, but I am still a bit concerned," then we give them a pass, and say that they are probably not apostate. But what if that same person, to be more honest with others, will say, "Hey, I can't see this at all! I've looked up the Scriptures, and I think the explanation is wrong!" Now, that Witness is suspected of being or becoming an apostate merely because they are being more honest, or want their faith in things unseen to be based on evidence. And I'm not saying that any Witness needs to respond to her question about the generation, even if they might find it necessary to down-vote her, or make a simple statement to say that it makes sense to them. For certain issues, that might even seem an appropriate response. It may be all we can do.
  8. Yes. The Bible says that Jesus was already bringing persons into that Kingdom, and that he made them to be a Kingdom. (Colossians 1:13) . . .He rescued us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, (Revelation 1:6) . . .and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father. . . But not ALL things that are "bound" by humans on earth are eternally bound in heaven, yet. Some persons in the current earthly side of the Kingdom will need to be thrown out of the Kingdom when the harvest (the conclusion) begins. So there is also the promise, the covenant, that those remaining faithful to the end will be granted entrance into the everlasting Kingdom (the heavenly portion): (2 Peter 1:11) . . .In fact, in this way you will be richly granted entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (Luke 22:28-30) 28 “However, you are the ones who have stuck with me in my trials; 29 and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the 12 tribes of Israel. And, yes, it should also be obvious that this can include those currently claiming to be JWs. This is why Christians who are partakers in that Kingdom are "no part of the world" as you said, and therefore even now treated as residents of that Kingdom and aliens and temporary residents of their current nations of residence. Soon they will be permanent residents, shining like the sun, in their everlasting abode: (1 Peter 2:4-11) . . .Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected, it is true, by men, but chosen, precious, with God, 5 YOU yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.. . . 9 But YOU are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that YOU should declare abroad the excellencies” of the one that called YOU out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 For YOU were once not a people, but are now God’s people; . . .11 Beloved, I exhort YOU as aliens and temporary residents . . . But it's not a simple matter of identifying "time." It's also the sureness of the promise, the covenant, that makes it possible to speak of the Kingdom --even the heavenly part of that Kingdom-- as already here, even though there will clearly be events in the future and final events of that Kingdom which will be outstanding, such as the time when the righteous ones shine forth. (Ephesians 2:6, 7) . . .Moreover, he raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming systems of things he might demonstrate the surpassing riches of his undeserved kindness in his graciousness toward us in union with Christ Jesus. When the "conclusion" [Gk: synteleia] begins, there are no more wheat and weeds growing together. This is how we know that we have not reached that "synteleia" yet. (This is not the WTS pov, of course.) Also, of course, we are still looking for fine soil, to be planted with good seed, and some are still planting, and some are still watering, and God is making good seeds (good hearts) grow. When the harvest (the conclusion) arrives, obviously there will be no more planting and watering and growing. The harvest IS the synteleia according to scripture: (Matthew 13:39) . . .The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, . . . [The harvest is the synteleia (final end) of the system of things.] So this will be understood differently if one thinks that planting and growing continue even after the harvest begins, and then that would mean that one will also have to try to give a different meaning to the word "synteleia" so that it could mean, for example, a 100+ year conclusion rather than a final, destructive end, or "end of all things." But we can know the Biblical intent of the word, because there are times when the Bible switches telos (end) and syn-telos (end of all things together) interchangeably: (1 Peter 4:7) . . .But the end [telos] of all things has drawn close.. . . (1 Corinthians 10:11) . . .they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends [teloi] of the systems of things have come. But again, just as with trying to pin an exact time on when and where the Kingdom exists in heaven vs on earth, we have a similar (purposeful) reason to also say that the final end (joint end), "ending [of all things] together" had already begun back when the last days began. That's because of the power and incontrovertability of what Jesus has already done and the sureness of that covenant promise. (Hebrews 6:17-20) 17 In this same way, when God decided to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 in order that through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to the refuge may have strong encouragement to take firm hold of the hope set before us. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, both sure and firm, and it enters in within the curtain, 20 where a forerunner has entered in our behalf, Jesus, . . . This may even be why Hebrews could also indicate that we were already in the time of that "joint end" when Hebrews was written: (Hebrews 9:26-28) . . .But now he has manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things to put sin away through the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is reserved for men to die once for all time, but after this a judgment, 28 so also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many; and the second time that he appears it will be apart from sin and to those earnestly looking for him for [their] salvation. (1 Peter 1:19, 20) . . .. 20 True, he was foreknown before the founding of the world, but he was made manifest at the end of the times for the sake of YOU (Galatians 4:3-5) . . .. 4 But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman and who came to be under law, 5 that he might release by purchase those under law, that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons. (Hebrews 1:1, 2) . . .God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, 2 has at the end of these days [Gk, "has in the last days"] spoken to us by means of a Son. . .
  9. There are also accounts of little green men on Mars, and Yeti, and Sasquatch. Fred Franz' time covers the 1920's through the 1990's. No one here can pin this story down any closer? The rooms branching off the tunnels were the residence buildings themselves and the laundry room. And a couple of openings for outside utility workers which might have been caged off to keep civilians like Bethelites from turning handles, or switching off electricity. The commissary was also attached to one tunnel. Some say there was food preparation in the tunnels, but this was actually because one of the buildings, not use for foot traffic, was used to transfer items from one of the buildings via an elevator. It would not be a place for any private conversations, because constant passerby's could hear. It's these stories of rooms branching off that already tells me that the person telling the story is misremembering, lying, or might have been afraid of tunnels and let their claustrophobic imaginations run wild. I saw somewhere on the order of 0 little girls in 6 years, except on guided tours. Was the "first woman" also the "little girl?" Is it possible that the mental scars came first, which could also help to explain the story? Where do I find these reports?
  10. That might have been you that posted that. Notice this old post that was heretofore mostly ignored, as it should have been:
  11. You might think you remember, but the last (and only other time) the topic of these tunnels came up, I would have said pretty much the same thing about them that I'm saying now. I think I might have added that there were some pipes along the ceiling in places (but the floors and walls were perfectly clean and smooth). Even before the buildings were sold recently, the city decided that the rights for any such tunnels would not be granted as part of the building property and they would have to be closed up, so now someone can imagine any kind of thing they want to imply. Maybe even use their perverse imaginations to write a scary novel about them: "Brooklyn Depths" anyone? "The Tunnel Channel"?
  12. It was 4:45 am and I decided to watch this video. Very strange. It's the first I ever heard of such a "brother" at Walkill Bethel. While I was at Brooklyn Bethel I never had an opportunity to go to Walkill but once, and that was only to look at a piece of typesetting equipment being designed by some brothers up there. I couldn't believe anyone there had been given so much freedom to work on their own projects, and here was a group of several brothers doing just that, and that particular project (electronic typesetting) turned out to be a great success soon adopted by the WTS. If someone knew the Walkill Bethel family during the years in question, it wouldn't be too hard to figure out who this man with the notebooks was. If I heard the video narration accurately (at 2.5x speed) it sounds like he had a brother and a wife also at Walkill, and he implies perhaps even another relative. Even at Brooklyn, during the time I was there (1976 to 1982) the turnover rate was very high. A complaint in the Home Office was that Elders all around the country were quick to approve their "problem cases" from their local congregations in the hopes that Bethel would "fix" them. Even the group I came in with had a brother who kept asking me to join his new study group because he realized he was now anointed. I assume there were others. In fact, I knew several brothers who were involved in private Bible study groups usually in the room of a brother from the Writing Dept, or Service Dept, and who were very upset (myself included) that a "crazy" brother was going to ruin this wonderful opportunity to study with highly experienced brothers, because this one "crazy" one was spreading strange ideas that might end up getting all of the private study groups closed down because of "one bad apple." I knew about 10 brothers who had come from my home state in nearby circuits, and three of them returned with serious mental problems, which may not have been in evidence before they were approved to be accepted to Bethel. So I don't doubt that brothers who had strange ideas about themselves could have existed, and might have been protected to some degree by a close friend, roommate, wife or relative, who was there with them. But I think the video narration breaks down in accuracy when he talks about Brooklyn Bethel's tunnels as if they were something secret. I was on the tour guide list, so every week or so, I was called away from work to handle one of the tours. Fairly often, I would hear the visitors ask, "Are you really going to show us the secret tunnels???" Or, "Is it true that Bethel has secret tunnels?" And my response was that of course we are going to see them, we'll use them to get between 124, 107, and The Towers Hotel. The main reason for the tunnels was to avoid airing Bethel's dirty laundry. And to avoid airing the clean laundry, too. That's because the laundry room was connected to the tunnels between the buildings, and this way all deliveries of laundry to and from the residence rooms could be rolled through the tunnels and never have to go through the otherwise quiet and up-scale neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. The neighborhood thought it was bad enough that Bethel factory workers crossed back and forth after breakfast, at lunch and dinnertime. (No tunnels to the "117 Adams" factories or "25 and 30 CH Squibb bldgs.") Imagine 1,000 people all crossing the street level at once around 6:55am to be seated for 7:00am text and breakfast! There was absolutely nothing secret about the tunnels. No places for sinister meetings. They were at least 7 feet high, at least 10 feet wide, well-lit and constantly traversed. I don't know if or care if "Pearl" begins to respond to people without thinking what she is going to say in advance. That description might be something odd as @Thinking has said, or it might be a lot like the way some of the brothers in Writing or Correspondence (part of Service Dept at the time) answered questions. When a question came in by letter, they were expected to just start writing without referring to notes or any preparation, and I knew brothers who could write pages and pages with scripture references and never prepare for the question specifically. One brother in Writing, who had written large portions of the Aid Book also wrote Watchtower articles and convention material this way, even the study articles. He'd be given a theme to write about and often just started typing at about 70 wpm and ended up with the entire study article, scriptures and all, requiring no edits. The idea that there were "channelers" at Bethel who were given any credence at all, might be a conflation of mixed up information about the Seola book which the WTS rewrote as "Angels and Women" and actually promoted it as a "channeled" book. There were also the "Radio" therapy machines promoted by the WTS, which were NOT promoted as any kind of spiriitism, but non WTS versions of these machines sometimes were. Then there were opposers of JWs who made much of the admissions by the editor of the Golden Age magazine that he was once demon-possessed which he says caused him to disagree with Russell on an important matter. (It's in a WT-printed letter and a Convention Report.) And, it's a long shot, but some of the conflation could have come from Rutherford himself who had claimed that since 1918, Jehovah's holy spirit was removed from "his holy temple" and now "lightnings" were made to "flash and shine" through direct communication with angels. (That teaching didn't last for too many years.) And then there was one GB member from about 1974 to 2000+ who sometimes (but rarely) suffered from a kind of epilepsy apparently and would appear to be in a kind of trance, which affected his speech patterns. His wife would tell him, "Back to earth, [name removed], come on down back to earth." I could see how one or more of these things could be twisted into a rumor of the kind that results in stories.
  13. Basically, you are right. But I'm not apologizing for what I've written, but just the way some people would be expected to over-react to it. I can. Read about David, Moses, Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Mark, Thomas, and James with John along with "Mrs." Zebedee. People are complicated. We can easily find fault but we need to balance the good they have done, too. That he was a normal, sinful man, yet probably still much better than most men. But he seems to have been smitten with self-righteousness, or even "sons of Zebedee" syndrome. We can't judge his faults and prejudices outside the times he lived in and we can't impugn his convictions and his faith, nor his love for Jehovah and Christ Jesus. We can't read his heart. When I read a most of his Biblical commentary, even the chronology commentary that I disagree with, I would guess that his heart was definitely in the right place. His motives seem generally commendable. Outside of the commentary and exegesis forced by his faulty chronology, his writing is still valid and valuable. When he used the Watchtower in such a petty way, to publicize only his side of a two-sided argument, and print supporting letters, he was doing the very thing he had complained that Barbour had done with the Herald. When Russell also began to use the Watch Tower funds as his means of support he was doing the same thing he had complained that Barbour had done. Did this make him a hypocrite? Or did Russell just change his view on such things? Russell actually ended up giving his one-sided view about 5 or 6 (read, "most") of his earliest editorial associates in the pages of the Watch Tower. (These were often in the "Harvest Siftings.") Rutherford used the magazine in the same way against all opposers to his 1917 presidency, denouncing the opposers the "evil slave." Similarly, for Salter, Moyle and a couple of others. I'm sure some also appreciate the fact that they both had the fortitude to stand for their convictions, and protect the editorial integrity of the Watch Tower. But we can look back now and see that that it wasn't even-handed. And we probably should never expect that it could have been even-handed. To explain more fully my view of Russell, I think it is possible to make him sound much worse than I did. But I fear, you might have been the only one interested in any of those details. And I might be over-reaching and too judgmental. I'll definitely be considered imbalanced by those who disagree with me. My point is not to denounce him, but to avoid looking back with so many rose-colored filters that we forget he was just a man, a lot like any other man. It's dangerous, in my opinion, to come so close to teaching that a specific man did so much that his work fulfilled a specific Bible prophecy. That's the only reason I speak up about him like this at all.
  14. Can only agree with that part. John Coleman died in 2018 after having moved to San Diego literally known for the most stable climate in the 48 contiguous United States. But he has every right to trounce CNN for being stupidly one-sided and only pretending to give the other side an airing. And this was one of CNN's worst "journalists" at that. On another note, anyone with the Weather App on their iPhone or Android Phone should type "North Pole" into the app. It's currently hotter in the North Pole than where I am in NY. On Monday and Tuesday the North Pole will be 79 or 80 degrees, while San Diego will be 73 and 73 (exactly the same for the entire week). I saw it was 82 degrees there at the North Pole last week. Also, at 3am this morning I decided not to go to bed but to watch "The Tomorrow War" (Amazon) which is on-screen proof of just how scary climate change really is. 😎
  15. I just re-read what I wrote, and realize it gives a much worse impression of CTRussell than I intended. I believe what I wrote above, so I don't see a need to rewrite it. Much of it came from notes when I tried to defend Russell against some things that Edmond Gruss had written, along with my own attempt to use what Rutherford wrote to defend Russell in "A Great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens" (1915). But I don't think of Russell as Pharisaical in any way in spite of Matthew 23:2,3. I do think that Russell played a key role in congealing the "Great Awakening" and "Restoration" movements into a much more "Christian" brotherhood. He realized early on just how different the particular set of "best practices" and "best doctrines" were from the other Christian organizations. And although he didn't like the use of the term organization, it made no difference, because he wanted to organize a more Christian brotherhood "out of Babylon the Great" as early as 1881. This doesn't mean that Babylon fell in that year, or even in 1919. But it was some of the most important progress made in the whole 19th century.
  16. I think that this topic now contains sufficient overgrowth so that my next comments will end up being of much less interest to those who have much less interest. My comments here --just my opinion, of course-- are a follow-up on previous comments about why I would not think of Russell and his associates, specifically, as the fulfillment of Malachi 3. One reason, of course, is that Malachi 3 was already said to be fulfilled in John the Baptist, and this explanation came from Jesus himself. I don't think we have a right to try to one-up Jesus' explanation. Also, the only reason it seems necessary to turn Russell's work into the fulfillment of Bible prophecy is our unique chronology surrounding 1914. So far, imo, all the Biblical evidence indicates against 1914. And, even if something like that could be claimed, there would still be nothing pointing to 1919, which is apparently the real reason behind the Malachi 3 application. I don't want to rehash some of what is already in a topic linked below, but there was a point that Anna brought up in that topic which is worth considering:
      Hello guest!
    I'm sure you are right, Anna, that it can be difficult for a man to stay humble when he believes he has an important mission to accomplish. This is especially true when one's chronological worldview has painted him into a corner. And there is a pedestal placed in that corner. The problem is that Russell did a lot of that painting himself. The Day of the Lord had already begun in 1874, the Millennium had begun around 1873, Jesus had come and was now present on earth since 1874, although invisible. He was right then calling the last of the marriage guests, the remaining members of his Bride. If he didn't take them in 1878, then he must have meant for all of them to begin changing at the moment of their death (or rapture?) after October 2, 1881. The "door was shut" on that date, and there would be no more new members called, with the possible exceptions necessary to replace any who had proven unfaithful before their death. Between 1881 and 1914 (or well before) all of Christ's Bride would be with Christ having been rewarded with their spiritual bodies. And Russell was now God's mouthpiece for those "wise virgins" who would prove themselves faithful. It's difficult to imagine a person who "puts his money where his mouth is," and "sticks his neck out" to convince people how close we are to the end as having ulterior motives. If he is not sincere, he is only asking for shame and notoriety. And I don't accuse him of ulterior motives. And I'm sure he wasn't looking for shame. But I'm also a big fan of the Bible's admonition: (Romans 3:4) . . .let God be found true, even if every man be found a liar, . . . And I don't think it's too much of a stretch to see that Russell sometimes lied. I'm not talking about those times when he contradicted himself in the Watch Tower, claiming he hadn't said something that he had, for example. I'm talking mostly about trying to manipulate the legal courts with untruths. These occasions seem obvious when I look at the court case he lost to his wife. (Personally, I think anyone who only reads the uncontested testimony would think of what Russell did to his wife as absolutely disgusting.) But those issues will be chalked up to "he-said-she-said." But there were occasions when Russell committed perjury, and had to carefully walk back his own previous testimony to avoid the consequences. (If anyone really cares, this information is already public, so I can point it out if necessary.) There is also this claim that Russell was an extremely successful businessman who spent his fortune on something that would not benefit him financially. Well, people do this all the time, especially if they think they might get something else out of it besides financial gain. But then again, it was his father who had proven himself financially successful before Russell was born. And, then when Russell was sure there were only the few months left before the Bride's "rapture" between early 1876 and Spring 1878, did he really spend that fortune? Russell admitted in the Watchtower that he only gave a maximum of about $700 in total to that entire effort before Spring 1878. And he gave every indication that he thought that enterprise could even be profitable, if it weren't for mismanagement and unnecessary spending by Barbour. He knew exactly how much profit came from the selling of hymn books, the Three Worlds, and the "Object and Manner" tracts he had written himself. And in any case, it spring-boarded his name from a co-editor of the Herald, to the editor of the Watch Tower. That doesn't make him dishonest, of course, but I started thinking of Russell as a little less than perfectly honest when I noticed that he wrote articles containing ideas from other people and never credited his source for those ideas. Instead, he wrote it was now God's time to begin revealing his plans in advance to his servants, that it was God's time to give the key, to reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom. Although he goes to the trouble of asking for the self-promoting endorsement of the primary expert on the Great Pyramid (Piazzi-Smyth) over the accuracy of many of "his" pyramid claims, he never gives credit to the person he copied so much of it from (Seiss). His article on the "seven times" published by George Storrs is the same. You would think he came up with it himself. But did Russell actually "spend his fortune" or "sell his business interests" even after 1881? According to the 1907 court case, Russell was involved in many investments and businesses many years after he sold the clothing stores. There was real estate and rental properties. Also there were Coal Syndicates, Rock Run Fuel and Gas, Silica Brick, Brazilian Turpentine, Pittsburgh Asphalt, Pittsburgh Kaolin, U.S. Coal and Coke Company. And, of course, United States Investment Company which was his own holding corporation, then later used to handle Watch Tower Society assets. Also, there were his interests in the Solon Society promoted in the Watch Tower, for which Russell was accused of defrauding some of the brethren. And, the better known issue of selling bags of wheat seeds through the Watch Tower whose claims for it were obviously exaggerated. Also, even before I read the Pennsylvania Superior Court Reports, which reviewed 150 pages of previous testimony in 1908 when C.T.Russell appealed his loss, I was already in agreement with what I later read that the Superior Court concluded: ". . . the verdict [against CTR] was fully warranted . . . . His course of conduct toward his wife evidenced such insistent egotism and extravagant self-praise that it would be manifest to the jury that his conduct towards her was one of continual arrogant domination, that would necessarily render the life of any sensitive Christian woman a burden and make her condition intolerable. The indignities offered to her in treating her as a menial in the presence of servants, intimating that she was of unsound mind, and that she was under the influence of designing and wicked persons fully warranted her withdrawal from his house, and justified her fear than he intended to further humiliate her by a threat to resort to legal proceedings to test her sanity. There is not a syllable in the testimony to justify his repeated aspersions on her character or her mental condition . . . other than that she did not agree with him in his views . . . He himself says that she is a woman of high intellectual qualities and of perfect moral character . . . the general effect of his testimony is a strong confirmation of her allegations." And of course, Russell had already tried to smear her reputation in the pages of the Watchtower itself. The pettiness of those Watch Tower articles has always bothered me. It's widely known I think that it was his wife who did a lot of the work and even the writing of "Divine Plan of the Ages" and perhaps large parts of additional volumes, yet when Russell sent men to kick her out of her living quarters, Russell also took her money and kept her purse, which would force her into the care of the same people (relatives) that Russell claimed (in the Watch Tower) were the bad influences on her sanity. Instead of paying her alimony, even as appreciation for her work on the Studies Volume that sold about 5 million copies, Russell ended up letting Watch Tower readers take up a collection to pay her and the court costs. In 1909, he emptied the money from the Pennsylvania corporation and transferred about $300,000 in value to the New York Corporation and all of his personal investments were now held by the NY corporation. Therefore he claimed that he didn't have a penny to give her. None of these specific issues will mean much on their own, due to the nature of divorce cases and the like. But, in my opinion, when you combine the probability of uncontested testimony with his more obvious perjury in court, and the fact that he still refused to give his ex-wife alimony after losing the case, it tells me that he wasn't actually as "justified" as he claimed to be. (By "justified from birth" Russell said that he meant he didn't have the same need for contrition since he was free of purposeful sin.) This is off the original topic of Russell's apology, to be sure, but I haven't found it yet. And I think that some of this information will be relevant even when I do find it. Also, this doesn't mean we can't appreciate Russell's excellent Bible commentary and emphasis on Christian doctrines and Christian character. It reminds me of when Jesus said: (Matthew 23:2, 3) “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. Therefore, all the things they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but they do not practice what they say.
  17. Not that it should matter too much to anyone here, but just to get a discussion started, I will happily state that I am in 100% agreement with all the scriptures in this list. And am in 100% agreement with at least 990 of the 997 words (counted by copying the content portion of this to
      Hello guest!
    ). I found only 3 things I'd take a small issue with: "Professor Jason D. BeDuhn aptly described it when he wrote that" I agree with this point, but I'm embarrassed that such an important list (for our purposes) has the name and opinion of a "secular" professor in it. Jason DeBuhn's name has been on this list since at least 2015 and has never been removed. It's inconsistent with the rest of the list, which otherwise only highlights a simple Bible basis, not some scholar. "A person’s works prove that his faith is alive." This isn't necessarily true. A person can have works that look like they are motivated by faith, but are motivated by self-righteousness, a competitive spirit, a desire to earn salvation and be rewarded accordingly, blindly following men, etc., just to mention some common examples. (Matthew 7:22) . . .Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not . . . perform many powerful works in your name?’ "He began ruling in 1914." Hmmm. I've probably said before that I can't find this one in the Bible. (And it's just about the only sentence that has no scripture to back it up.) I wish it had said: "We believe Jesus is now ruling invisibly from heaven." Or, "We believe that we now live in a time when Jesus, from his heavenly throne, is giving special attention to matters of the Kingdom on earth." In addition to those, there are a couple of other things, much less important to me, that I could see changing in the future, and the change wouldn't cause a problem or inconsistency either way. For example, I could see the possibility that the "144,000" is a symbolic number, and might even represent the full number of natural Jewish Christians as easily as it could represent the full number of spiritual Jews. But the list explicitly allows for some expressions to be interpreted symbolically, anyway, so it wouldn't bother me either way to use the expression, "The 144,000 will rule in heaven." ["We recognize that parts of the Bible are written in figurative or symbolic language and are not to be understood literally.—Revelation 1:1. "] It's also possible that "blood" in Acts 15 is a symbol for "bloodguilt," such as murder, manslaughter, war, etc., just as "idols" can include things like "gluttony" (Phil 3:19) "greediness" (Col 3:5) and even "pleasing men" (Eph 6:6,7; Gal 1:10) Personally, for my own conscience, I'm fine with the idea that abstaining from blood transfusions is one way that we abstain from blood. But there's a chance that we as individuals and as an organization should not be imposing this as a rule on the Bible-trained consciences of others. That idea might already be covered, even if unintentionally, by the very nice idea expressed here: "Our unity allows for personal choice, though. Each Witness makes decisions in harmony with his or her own Bible-trained conscience." Outside of those few comments, I would be willing to die for the other 990 words out of the 997.
  18. You don't have to be concerned. Russell himself is not important to me at all. But I take the current doctrines seriously. We are to pay attention to ourselves and to our doctrines according to the Bible. And if we truly take the doctrines seriously, we will be noble-minded and question them. Otherwise we are merely following men. (1 Timothy 4:15, 16) 15 Ponder over these things; be absorbed in them, . . . 16 Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Persevere in these things. . . One of those current teachings is that Russell and his associates embarked on a clean-up and restoration work that was actually prophesied in the Bible in Malachi 3. We are to teach that the work Russell was involved in and wrote about actually got the attention of Jesus Christ around the year 1914. That doctrine has huge implications. If true, it means that we can learn something more about the "mind of Christ" in our own time by looking at what Jesus looked at, to see if we can identify what Jesus must have seen. (1 Corinthians 2:15-16) However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man. 16 For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ. For me, if I didn't look into and really "ponder" this doctrine, it would mean that I don't really care to know something that could perhaps be easily knowable about the mind of Christ. And the penultimate upshot of what I have discovered is that Russell was generally a careful student of the Bible on every single Bible topic except chronology. On chronology Russell got absolutely no date and therefore no prediction right. But this should be as expected, based on Jesus' words in Matthew 24 (the whole chapter) and Acts 1:6-8. Not even the angels could, who had (perhaps) billions of years of experience knowing more about the mind and activities of Jehovah and Jesus. So how could a sinful man like Russell expect to know? What is left, after the failed chronology, is a combination of doctrinal teachings that I have not seen in that particular combination among any other group of Christians. Perhaps it exists, and perhaps someone will point it out if it does. I prefer to associate with a group related in the faith on that particular combination. I can overlook the chronology. But I still think his work was ultimately blessed by attracting people who were (mostly) first attracted by the dates and the supposed (but false) knowledge about the chronology, yet had to learn the hard way that Jesus was correct about chronology. Those who stay, after that chronology dross gets filtered by disappointment, are now typically more honest-hearted, and are now staying for the good news of the kingdom itself, staying for the joy of brotherhood, the love, and encouraging one another to hang in their for the more important reasons. If you don't see love in the brotherhood for the "right" reasons, I'm not going to convince you. You and I are both in the habit of finding straws (faults) in the eyes of the organization, but you seem anxious to grasp at any straw and see everything from only the fault-finding side. I believe I see a bigger picture here. There was probably a time when you did, too. Surely it wasn't just the wrong things that attracted you to stay in the first place. Up to there I probably could survive Tom's judicial hearing intact. But the actual ultimate upshot (not the penultimate) of what I have learned is that "Russell and Associates" could not have actually been the forerunner of a restored and cleansed organization in 1919. That doesn't mean that Jehovah didn't make use of the progress made. Jehovah would be pleased with people declaring the good news about a kingdom that will restore a paradise and bring all creation back into Jehovah's original purpose. And the brotherhood has promoted the correction of some of the most major confusing and even God-dishonoring doctrines, taught by probably 95% of Christendom. I would not look for a specific "inflection point" that identified any organization as the true religion. I just see progress. Russell's day saw it. And just as we claim, "1918 to 1919" saw good progress. But perhaps 1919 progress was less important in that year than, say, "1878 to 1879" or "1881 to 1882" or "1909 to 1910" or "1929 to 1930" and "1941 to 1942" and "2000 to 2001." Perhaps a specific "leap of progress" hasn't even happened yet, but I continue to expect more of our brotherhood in the future. I think that we currently look back on our own history much more often than necessary. (Luke 9:62) .62 Jesus said to him: “No man who has put his hand to a plow and looks at the things behind is well-suited for the Kingdom of God.” One of the reasons I like to share what I find when I "ponder" our current teachings about the WTS past, is to point out that looking to the past doesn't get us anywhere. We have more and better reasons to look to the future. On your points about Rutherford, I agree that Russell was not a JW in any modern sense. Rutherford was hardly ever one either. But Rutherford was a Bible Student. Rutherford definitely apostasized from Russell's Bible Students, especially from 1928 to 1930. Then again, Russell himself apostasized from the larger Rochester group that his Allegheny/Pittsburgh group had once joined: *** w55 1/1 pp. 7-8 Part 1—Early Voices (1870-1878) *** As a result the Pittsburgh Bible group of nearly thirty decided to affiliate with the Rochester group slightly larger in number. Russell became a joint editor along with Barbour for The Herald of the Morning. The Pittsburgh group on Russell’s initiative agreed to finance a small printing place in Rochester for the joint printing undertakings. . . . . After two years of affiliation a testing occurred that brought about a parting of the ways. . . . Months of argument ensued in publishing articles in the Herald pro and con on the ransom issue. Finally the Pittsburgh Bible group withdrew association from the Barbour group to undertake a separate Bible publishing work. Many of the Rochester group sided in with Russell and his associates on the ransom issue and they too came over to the Pittsburgh association.
  19. I believe that I probably won't discover any specific "apology" from Russell for any predictions made for the years 1874, 1878 and 1881. Or at least it won't be found in things he wrote within a few years of those predictions. It's possible he reviewed these types of predictions closer to the 1890's or later, but this seems unlikely, based on his attitude toward the chronology doctrines that he held for the rest of his life. If such an apology is to be found, it seems more likely to me now that it would be in the 1910 and 1914 period, meaning some time between October 1914 and Russell's death in October 1916. I will temporarily skip my review from January 1890 to about 1910, and go straight to the 1910 through 1914 predictions. (Then, if nothing shows up there, I'll go back to review 1890 to 1910.) First, in the context of Russell's attitudes towards these dates, or even his attitude and beliefs about himself, there is another consideration we should think about: Are Russell's attitudes and beliefs really so different than what we should expect if he were really doing the important work as a "forerunner" to restore true worship in late 19th and early 20th century? Wouldn't any such person at least appear to be immodest, or even presumptuous? How else would that person be able to promote at least a nucleus of converts to true worship? He would surely have to announce a proper path and distinguish his teachings and warn against the improper path. Isn't this what John the Baptist did? We already know that just like John the Baptizer, we would expect a lot of people to reject that preparatory message due to John's personal peculiarities. Perhaps those same peculiarities attracted people to John's preaching, too. Or, in John's case, there was even the difficult geographic and physical circumstances of the mostly deserted area where John preached and baptized. So even if we can criticize Russell's human peculiarities and chronology blunders, isn't there something we should be able to identify that indicates Jehovah's blessing on this work. What would we look for specifically, to convince us that Jehovah blessed his work and efforts? (For those who get the wrong idea from these questions, the WTS does not claim that it was Russell personally who was the forerunner who prepared the way for the restoration of true worship. It's the work that centered around Russell and his associates, not Russell or those associates themselves.)
  20. You like it when I say something that's different from what most of us believe, and you often immediately think I somehow proven that the WT or GB or other JWs are wrong, just because what I say "goes against the grain." But I would not stay if it were really a den of immorality and lies. You know as well as I do that we get good Biblical counsel and practical advice about how to apply this counsel. You used to harp on the CSA issues constantly, and it seemed like you were ready to bring it up even if the topic was politics or science. I don't think JWs are the best or the worst religious organization, and I don't think that this type of comparison is even valid. After all, Jesus associated with sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, etc., because those were the kind of people who knew they had a spiritual need to help overcome their sinful, fleshly issues and desires. If people get the right counsel, it's not the fault of the counselor when the person goes their own way. This doesn't mean I won't keep looking for ways that I think we can improve our processes for spiritually based admonition, discipline and justice. And we've been through this before on the topic of lying. A person can say something untrue, and it doesn't mean they are deliberately lying. Were you actually "lying" when you taught people certain JW doctrines that you now believe are untrue? When the WTS admits they were wrong about a teaching and they change it, they do this out of a desire to get it right. That's true even if they still have it wrong. It's about motive. I think a very few things are wrong out of most things that are right, but I don't think anyone taking the lead is purposely lying about the teachings that I think are wrong. However, in a stricter Biblical sense, due to human imperfection even in our motives, "every man is a liar:" (Psalm 146:3) . . .Do not put your trust in princes Nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation. (Romans 3:4) . . .But let God be found true, even if every man be found a liar, just as it is written:. . . But then, this is true even of the apostles Paul, Peter, James, John, and any other "True Anointed" as long as they are on the earth as humans.
  21. RUSSELL CLAIMS TO BE THE FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE In discussing Russell as "God's mouthpiece," the most quoted passage from Russell was left out of the last post. In the Watch Tower, May 1890, p. R1214, this is part of a lengthy review of WT/Russell history by Russell himself.] No, the truths we present, as God's mouthpieces, were not revealed in visions or dreams, nor by God's audible voice, nor all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880, a period of about twenty years. And this present clear unfolding of truth is not due to any human ingenuity or acuteness of perception, but to the simple fact that God's due time has come, and if we did not speak and no other agent could be found, the very stones would cry out. . . . I [Russell] told [the Lord] that I realized that he was the Shepherd, and not I, but that I knew also that he would be pleased at any interest in the sheep, and my desire to be his mouthpiece to declare the truth, the way and the life to them; that I felt deeply impressed that if the time had come for the permission of a false view to deceive the unworthy, it must also be his due time to have the truth on the same subject made clear, that the worthy ones might be enabled to stand, and not fall from the truth. The rewrite of the same article in the Watch Tower, July 15, 1906, p.R3821 might be explained by the fact that between those two articles, the "faithful slave" was no longer a class, but now a single, individual human. Note the change from "truths we present, as God's mouthpieces" to "truths I present, as God's mouthpiece:" No, the truths I present, as God's mouthpiece, were not revealed in visions or dreams, nor by God's audible voice, nor all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880. Neither is this clear unfolding of truth due to any human ingenuity or acuteness of perception, but to the simple fact that God's due time has come; and if I did not speak, and no other agent could be found, the very stones would cry out. . . . I [Russell] went to the Lord with this as with every trial, told him just how it seemed to me, how anxious I felt for his dear "sheep," who, having their appetites sharpened by some truth, were by their very hunger exposed to Satan's deceptions. I told him that I realized that he was the Shepherd, and not I, but that I knew also that he would be pleased at my interest in the sheep and my desire to be his mouthpiece to declare the truth, the way and the life to them; that I felt deeply impressed that if the time had come for the permission of a false view to deceive the unworthy, it must also be his due time to have the truth on the same subject made clear, that the worthy ones might be enabled to stand, and not fall from the truth. The change in the "faithful slave" (aka "that servant") doctrine became official in 1896. It was supposedly promoted without Russell's direct permission a few months earlier by his wife. But if we look more closely at some of Russell's own writings prior to 1896, especially in letters from others that he published about himself, we can see a transitioning toward that teaching. In a very early Watch Tower, October 1880, p. R149, contributor W. I. Mann wrote an article where he said: "Therefore, be ye (ye brethren) also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man comes." This was fulfilled. It was months after Christ came (in Fall of '74) before the company realized it. "Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, HAVING COME (elthon), shall find so doing." Was there such a servant? Of course, we do not understand that it means one individual, but evidently a small company . . . Russell evidently agreed with this, as shown in the Watch Tower, November 1881, p. R291: "Who then is that faithful and wise servant whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household," to give them meat in due season? Is it not that "little flock" of consecrated servants who are faithfully carrying out their consecration vows--the body of Christ-- and is not the whole body individually and collectively, giving the meat in due season to the household of faith--the great company of believers? The hints, even when officially understood as a class, may have started as early as 1882 (the third year of the Watch Tower), by regularly calling the Watch Tower articles "meat in due season," "food for thinking Christians," edification for the household of faith, etc. The following is from November 1882, p.R548: Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find giving meat in due season to the household. (Matt. 24:45,46.) We should be specially interested in making it known to every consecrated child of God, many of whom are almost starved. You may have for the asking abundance of reading matter for free distribution. But the more "official" change was in the Watch Tower, March 1, 1896, p. R1946: In our examination of this text we seem to have treated the term "that servant" as though the Spirit had erred in saying "that servant" when it meant servants (plural), and we applied it to all true servants of God. Since then we have been met from various quarters with objections to so general an application, and the suggestion that it would be wrong to allow modesty or any other consideration, good or bad, to warp our judgment in the exposition of the inspired Word; to which proposition we agree . . . It is further suggested that whoever occupies the position of "that servant" occupies a place of special danger, as well as of special privilege; that only by humility and faithfulness can he continue; and that, although not so stated in the Scriptures, it may be inferred that if the chosen one should fail, another would be chosen to be "that servant" or steward through whom the Master would continue to supply the "meat in due season" to those deemed worthy to continue at his table A repetition of those ideas was made in April 15, 1904 p.R3355-6: "THE FAITHFUL AND THE WISE STEWARD." We would naturally enough endeavor to interpret our Lord's words as signifying a composite steward-- that is that a certain number or class of brethren together would constitute the steward of this parable. In endeavoring to make such an interpretation we are met with several difficulties, however. (1) To suppose such a class in the Church would be to recognize what is elsewhere denied--to recognize a clerical or authoritative class as distinct and separate from the remainder of the Church, because this steward is to dispense the meat in due season to the household, to the fellow-servants. The Church of Christ, we hold, is not composed of clergy and laity, but "ye are all one in Christ Jesus, and one is your Master, even Christ." There would be no violation of principle, however, in supposing that the Lord at the time indicated would specially use one member of his Church as the channel or instrument through which he would send the appropriate messages, spiritual nourishment appropriate at that time; because at various times in the past the Lord has used individuals in such a manner. For instance, Peter used the "keys" of the Kingdom of heaven at Pentecost, and again at the home of Cornelius, and in both places he was used as a special servant in connection with the dispensing of special truths. This did not constitute Peter a lord over the other apostles or over the Church, but merely a servant. (2) However much we might endeavor to apply this figure to the Lord's people collectively, the fact would still remain that the various items stated would not fit to a company of individuals.. . . but since the servant mentioned is to dispense food to the other members of the body, his fellow-servants, the term seems to be limited to some particular individual. In the meantime, of course, Russell had printed many letters from persons who acknowledged Russell himself as "that servant" (individually) and Russell spoke of his writings as fulfilling the "food at the proper time" ("meat in due season") to the household of faith. The long quotes in the previous post from 1895 about the study of the MILLENNIAL DAWN books shows this clearly. That idea also matches another often quoted reference of Russell to his own books which nearly equate them with the Bible itself, as he said in the Watch Tower, September 15, 1910, p.R4685: If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof-texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes-- the Bible in an arranged form. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself, . . . Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the Divine Plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years --if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures. Just months after his death, the Watch Tower said that Russell only claimed to be the "faithful and wise servant" in private, p.R5998. It is here interesting to note that Jesus said, "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His Household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when He cometh, shall find so doing! Verily I say unto you that He shall make him ruler over all His goods." Thousands of the readers of Pastor Russell's writings believe that he filled the office of "that faithful and wise servant," and that his great work was giving to the Household of Faith meat in due season. His modesty and humility precluded him from openly claiming this title, but he admitted as much in private conversation. He was probably trying to follow the example of Jesus, which he often commented upon with this idea: (p.R3338) With his disciples our Lord traveled . . . He did not announce himself publicly to the people there, but his presence soon became known, showing that the fame of his miracles and teachings had spread throughout the whole of Palestine. And more to the point, p.R3851: The modesty of our Lord in respect to his Messiahship is noteworthy. Not on a single occasion we know of did he announce himself as Messiah. . . . In every instance his honor as Messiah was mentioned by others and simply not disputed by the Lord.
  22. So, for 1874, 1878, and 1881, it seems that we can get a pretty good idea of the expectations and the reasons for them. Barbour and Paton had promoted 1873 and 1874 for the big "change" from physical bodies to spiritual bodies all of Christ's Bride -- but Russell hadn't joined them yet. Russell, Barbour and Paton all (together) vigorously promoted the big "change" for 1878. Barbour promoted 1881 as the year Jesus would appear again, and the year for the big "change." But by then Russell and Paton had separated from Barbour, and Paton didn't expect 1881 to be any different from any other year, except with reference to the natural Jews. And Russell only predicted that the time of wrath and vengeance would begin in 1881, and that Jesus could take his bride from the earth at any time after October 2, 1881, but this didn't mean it would necessarily happen that year. In fact, since all of Christ's Bride who died after October 1881 would now be "changed" immediately upon death, then, for the time being, there was no specific urgent date to look to between 1881 and 1914. So this is a good place to pause, I think, and spend some time on Russell's own attitude toward these dates, predictions and the value of the chronology in general. It will help us understand why he was sometimes apparently dogmatic, and sometimes apparently not dogmatic. RUSSELL'S GENERAL VIEW OF THE CHRONOLOGY AND HIS OWN ROLE Russell regularly spoke of God's "Plan of the Ages." (His wife wanted to call it God's "Eternal Purpose.") Russell promoted 5-feet-wide charts full of timelines and pyramid diagrams that he wanted all Bible Students to hang on their walls to see the beauty of the interlocking "proofs." Nelson Barbour had indicated that he {Barbour] was filling the role of God's mouthpiece, and the role of the "faithful and wise servant." He indicated that it was through him [Barbour] that he taught Russell everything he knows. But when Russell broke with Barbour, Russell made it clear that Barbour's patronizing attitude toward Russell was not valid. RUSSELL, CLAIMS HE WAS NOT JUSTIFIED (MADE RIGHTEOUS) THROUGH FAITH, BUT SINCE BIRTH Rather than think of himself as declared righteous through faith, he thought of himself as someone who was justified from birth. And therefore cannot ever be accused of wilful sin. And therefore it was neither necessary nor appropriate for Russell to feel the contrition necessary for repentance, in the same way as others. Note how dogmatically Russell simply declares himself to be of this class of Christian. (There is no such concept found in the Bible.) The following is from the Watch Tower, November 1, 1904, p.R3456: In re justification; we believe that quite a good many Christians were born in a justified condition, and that the sentiments of their hearts always were for righteousness, and that therefore they cannot accuse themselves of having sinned wilfully, nor feel such great contrition as those who have been living in sin--in alienation from God. Nor should they. They are already the Lord's, and for them to be converted (turned round) would mean to turn away from the Lord. The Editor is one of this class. RUSSELL AS GOD'S MOUTHPIECE Russell saw himself as God's mouthpiece for the purpose of gathering anointed ones and preparing them to meet the Bridegroom. He said that he saw his own ministry, not to the poor, or even to the great crowd of anointed who would come out of the great tribulation but only to the "little flock" of anointed who were Christ's Bride, the "Church." Later, of course, after the expected change did not happen so quickly and early as expected, Russell began to see that the entire Bride Class should also be a "mouthpiece" for the kingdom to teach the great crowd. And when Russell used the term "mouthpiece" he also showed what he thought it meant starting in the very first issue of the WT: When Paul used these words he was God's mouthpiece, therefore the word is God's. . . [Watch Tower, July 1879, p.R11] And in the very next issue, Russell creates an imaginary dialogue in which he speaks of himself as a potential mouthpiece of God: You are anxious, then, to find the connecting links in the great chain which binds the interests of humanity to the throne of God. . . . If it should please Him to use me as His mouthpiece, it will be a great privilege. [Watch Tower, August 1879, p.R13] Russell associated "mouthpieces" with God's prophets, etc. As "God in times past spake unto the fathers through the prophets," who were His mouthpieces . . . [p. R196] It's not fair, as many have done, to claim that Russell indicated he was God's only mouthpiece for his day and age. Russell didn't just make it about himself, personally, but he did teach that a new, special mouthpiece was then needed, and this was directly related to the break that the Watch Tower had made with other "Christian" churches in 1878, when Babylon the Great had begun to fall. After three and one-half years (in 1878) he rejected or left desolate the nominal church here, as he had done in the "shadow," saying, "Because thou are neither cold nor hot I will spew thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:16). The Jewish church was God's mouthpiece until "left desolate," but from that time forward God's truth came through another channel. So here the gospel church has been God's recognized channel of truth, or mouthpiece, but are such, we believe, no longer. Truth will now come through other channels. Since 1878 (and never before that) we have felt at liberty to call God's children out of the nominal churches to a position of freedom and liberty. . . . To Russell, he biggest difference between the gospel Church (Babylon), including Second Adventists, etc., was no longer doctrines like restitution and consecration, though still important The most important key was now the "time element." And this "time element" (chronology) had been raised by the Adventists, but was not even dropped by most of them, so that is now what made the Watch Tower's teaching separate from others, who could no longer be God's mouthpiece. The same Watch Tower article from November 1881, "The Blessed Dying" mentioned in a previous post, also included these statements: You will recall that up to 1878, though Restitution was the key note, and entire consecration was always urged, yet the time element was one of the most prominent features always. Since 1878, however, though the same time element is recognized in all our preaching and teaching, and is repeatedly referred to as a proof of our position, yet the direct teaching of time has almost stopped among all the preaching brethren-- . . . It was in the spring of 1879, that seeing clearly the parallelism between the nominal Jewish church and the nominal Gospel church, we were enabled to know just where the latter was finally rejected of the Lord and spewed out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16) no longer to be his mouthpiece. We saw that this was due in 1878, as the parallel of the rejection of the Jewish church, So, Jehovah's new mouthpiece would be identified at the right time due to the time element, and also by preaching the time element. That same November 1881 issue made it clear that Paul had been a mouthpiece, Luther had been mouthpiece, and now "we" are his mouthpiece. In January 1882, Russell added that the Catholics, the Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutherans, by backing the Evangelical Alliance, etc., were now mouthpieces for the Image of the Beast. Now the various sects have a sort of backing in this organization, and each may act as the mouthpiece of the Image . . . [p. R322] [BTW, I hadn't noticed previously that this 1881 idea about the Evangelical Alliance was the forerunner of the later parallel teaching about how the World Council of Churches gave support to the League of Nations, when that entity (the League) became identified with the Image of the Beast.] If it be asked, in what sense does [Jesus] teach? we answer, by exercising the qualities of the head, or teacher; by using one or more of those present as His mouthpiece in unfolding truth, strengthening faith, encouraging hope, inspiring zeal, etc. [p. R407] We may search the Scriptures in vain for an instance of Gods sending through such a channel. He hath raised up a new mouthpiece. He sheds increasing light to a little flock who are willing to receive it, and spread it abroad without fear. [p. R505] We are not ashamed to be the Lord's mouthpieces in this timely but unpopular message: and what timely truth has not been unpopular? [p. R986] Russell, as he had often done already, printed letters supportive of his own position as God's mouthpiece: . . .through fear that I would appear to give glory to man rather than to God, from whom I am sensible that the light really comes. Still I realize that it is due you, as God's willing agent in distributing the light. . . I saw a reference to Millennial Dawn in a secular paper. I at once ordered the book. . . Since then I have eagerly read every thing I could get from your pen: . . . Hoping that you may, in the future as in the past, be blessed and honored of God as his mouthpiece, I remain, yours in the glorious hope, L. A. WEATHERLY. [p. R1439] In Russell's promotion of the "DAWN Study Circles" to study the Millennial Dawn material, Russell made the following comments, showing that he thought of his books, the MILLENNIAL DAWN itself, as "God's mouthpiece." [Watch Tower, September 15, 1895, p.R1867-R1869] Those who have come to an understanding of the plan of the ages, recognize it as of divine and not of human origination. . . . We give all praise and honor to the Divine Author from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, and who thus, according to his promise (Luke 12:37), continues to feed his Church with spiritual "meat in due season." God, still our Teacher, uses as heretofore instrumentalities, and has provided for his people's instruction and use the orderly presentations of MILLENNIAL DAWN to point out to them his plan of the ages and the duties and privileges of this "harvest" time; because the "due time" has come for "the mystery" to be finished. (Rev. 10:7.) And those who have received instruction in the Word, in private, through the use of MILLENNIAL DAWN as a teacher sent of God (Eph. 4:11-14) have no more reason to ignore it as God's mouthpiece in united study than in their own private study;--no more, either, than they would a living teacher. And should any be disposed to worship the humble human instrumentality chosen of God as the channel for this blessing of present truth, we say to such,--"See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow servant [not thy Lord], and [fellow servant] of thy brethren the prophets [all true teachers or mouthpieces of God]:...Worship God." (Rev. 22:9.) The water of life and the Giver of it, and not the earthen vessel through which it is sent, are to be reverenced. The earthen vessels have naught whereof to glory. What have we of ourselves that we did not first receive of the Lord?--1 Cor. 4:6,7. The God-given plan of the ages is what we should all use in the study of the Bible, if we would get the treasures of wisdom, and grace, and strength for service in these perilous harvest times, for which it is divinely provided. Each one who recognizes this as a God-given light should use it in the study of the Word. Each should make it his own light as God intended. Each should become so proficient in its use as to be able to answer every question that could be asked respecting the general plan of God. But alas! some seem to feel that this is Brother Russell's plan, and that they should originate their own. But this is a great mistake. It is not our plan, but God's. If not God's plan, it is of no value. We do not want any human plans. Surely men cannot make plans for God that he will recognize; for his own plans have been since "before the foundation of the world." God has but one plan, and it is unalterable; and now that he has revealed it, we confess that it is wonderful, yet as simple as it is beautiful. It is a plan, however, that men could not conceive or arrange. Its thoughts are higher than man's thoughts; and hence in all the centuries past men have never even approximated this divine plan of the ages. So then the Bible, the standard, should be studied in the light of this God-given teaching, until each one is proficient --an able teacher of it. Then each should let his light shine--humbly serving it to others. Some, alas! when their eyes are opened to see God's loving plan of the ages, while surprised, and thankful to God for the present truth, neglect to do more than hastily taste of it; and then they hasten on, as they say, to "hunt for more." What they should do would better be to use well what God has already given us as his people. . . . We certainly have no right to ask for more or other blessings, until we have feasted to the full on what has been set before us. Then we should exercise ourselves, using the strength received in serving the feast to others. . . . The proper attitude for the Church is to be active in eating the food already received and in using the strength derived from it. She is not to leave the table bountifully spread to pray for more. When more would be beneficial more will be sent by the hand of some "servant" of God and the Church. Nor will the true "servant" find it necessary to make the food; for it will be given him by the great Householder. It will be "found" by him, and when he presents it to the Lord's family, they will be able to discern upon it the stamp of divine truth. And after partaking of it liberally they will dispense it to others. Sufficient labor for all comes after we have "found" the truth,--labor in eating it, studying and appropriating it, and labor in serving it to others. . . . . Let us remember, however, that we cannot break open any secrets which God may wish to conceal as not yet appropriate "meat in due season"; nor should we wish to do so. The small boy who bangs away at the unripe apple until it falls get food which makes him very sick. . . Our diligence should be rather to watch the ripening processes of divine providence, and to hold our minds and hearts in humble readiness . . . .It is the Word of God that is to be eaten; the DAWNS and TOWERS are divinely provided helps for the cutting of the food into eatable portions,--enabling us to "rightly divide the Word of truth," and thus facilitating the eating of it. Such meetings for the study of the Word in the light of the now revealed plan of the ages have been termed "Dawn Circles." . . . We advise the holding of these Circles everywhere, and suggest that you invite to them only such as are believers . . .any . . .who is desirous of learning the way of God more perfectly. . . .you do not meet to discuss the unbeliever's doubts, but to confirm the believer's faith.. . .It is advisable that the leader be a good reader, and that he begin at the beginning of Volume I. He should pause at the end of each sentence, if necessary, to give full opportunity for questions or remarks; and at the close of each paragraph a general discussion of its contents should be encouraged, . . . Each one of the Circle should have in hand some translation of the Bible or a "Dawn." . . . But some one will say, At that rate we would be fully a year in going through the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and the three volumes would require three years! All the better, we answer. . . .Surely, if the Bible required nearly two thousand years for its preparation, we should give it reverent study, and not merely a casual glance and thought. . . . R2371: Thus it is also with those whom the Lord would specially use in his service during this Gospel age. . . to know that there is an opportunity of rendering service to the King of kings is to volunteer their services, to pray that the Lord will grant them a privilege of doing all their talents will fit them to do in his service. Only such are true mouthpieces of the Lord. R2433: We seek merely to be, so far as the Shepherd may be pleased to use us, his mouthpiece, to call attention to the Shepherd, and to the way in which he is leading. None should follow us, except as they discern that we are following the Master, as saith the Apostle. Watch Tower, July 1, 1903, R3214: Quite a number came from surrounding cities and towns--and more flowers came, too; "alabaster boxes" of sweet odor to the Lord, because really rendered unto him, and to us merely because he had been pleased to use us as his mouthpiece in proclaiming his great plan of the ages in this his due time for revealing it. . . . Faithfully, your brother and servant in the Lord, CHARLES T. RUSSELL
  23. Embarrassing! I would never stoop to using a cheap pun in such a serious situation. Let's just spray it works. Oil's well that ends well. (And there's probably some more like that coming down the pipe.)
  24. I fell for that series, too. For me, it's entertaining because the writer(s) were aware of how only a five-year absence would change lives so dramatically in so many different ways. It's a small-scale "resurrection fantasy." The characters in the story who were trying hard to give a religious meaning to their experience appear to have given up early on making it fit their defined concepts of religion. It becomes more of a more secular "the-Universe-is-calling" and "we-are-all-connected" story, but even those experiences are subject to wildly different interpretations after a mix of both positive and negative "Universe callings." In the sense that it is about realistic and understandable ways in which average people might respond to something "supernatural" I think they did a credible job. But I am also happy to criticize it, of course. 😎 Some very recent JW Broadcasting and Watchtower comments have encouraged a little more use of our imagination (and even speculation) when we come across ideas in our Bible reading. I think that "Manifest" is a little like someone hearing the following verse, with a very shallow concept of resurrection, and imagining all the many possible scenarios of similar situations: (Matthew 22:28) . . .So in the resurrection, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her as a wife.”
  25. The selling of KHs in the US at least has now been suspended. There was a lot of effort put into getting new appraisals of (perhaps) thousands of KHs, but there will be no additional sales at the moment except those already in progress. Whatever the reasons before, it sounds like this last step is either Covid-related or a serendipitous coincidence, since the Bethel facilities were hoping to open in late summer/early autumn.
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