Jump to content
The World News Media

Doctrinal changes under Judge Rutherford

The Librarian

Recommended Posts

  • Member

Part of a series on:

In July 1917, Rutherford had The Finished Mystery published as a seventh volume of the Studies in the Scriptures series. The volume, though written by Fisher and Woodworth, was advertised as Russell's "posthumous work" and "last legacy"[113][114] but contained several interpretations and viewpoints not espoused by Russell,[115][116] including an urging of all Bible Students to cast judgment upon Christendom and its clergy, the adoption of new dates for the fulfillment of particular prophecies, a claim that salvation is tied to membership within the Watch Tower Society, as well as shunning and censuring any who reject the interpretations given in the volume or related articles in The Watch Tower magazine.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.38.38 PM.png

In the February 1918 discourse "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" (printed in booklet form in May 1920) a revision of Russell's calculation of a "Jubilee type" was presented, changing it from 1875 to 1925,[117][118]despite Russell's rejection of such a change a few months prior to his death.[119] In October 1920 the Society published a new edition of Russell's 1881 Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices. It included an appendix introducing many alterations or reinterpretations of Russell's original views on the death of Jesus and the role of Christ's followers in heaven as typified in the ceremonies of the Jewish tabernacle.[120]
At the 1922 Cedar Point convention Rutherford began teaching that Christ's reign had begun in 1914,[121] and not 1878 as Russell had taught.[122] Rutherford expanded on this view in the March 1, 1925 issue of The Watch Tower in the article "Birth of The Nation", which he later acknowledged "caused a real stir or shake-up within the ranks."[88] In 1927 he moved the date of the resurrection of the "sleeping saints" (all Christians who had died since Jesus' time) from 1878 to 1918[123][124] and as early as 1930 began to dismiss the year 1874 as the date for the invisible presence of Christ in favor of the year 1914.[125][126]

220px-1920_Rutherford_NationalTheatre_BostonEveningGlobe_Dec17.png 220px-Mnlwnd.png

From 1925 he developed the view of the battle of Armageddon as a universal war waged by God rather than Russell's belief that it was the decline of human society into social, political and religious anarchy. Rutherford based his interpretations on the books of Exodus, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Psalms as well as additional material from the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles.[127][128][129] An article in the January 1, 1926 Watch Tower introduced new emphasis on the importance of the name "Jehovah";[130] from 1929 Rutherford taught that the vindication of God's name—which would ultimately occur when millions of unbelievers were destroyed at Armageddon—was the primary doctrine of Christianity and more important than God's display of goodness or grace toward humankind.[131][132][133][134] In 1932 he published an interpretation of a passage in Ezekiel describing the attack on Jerusalem by Gog of Magog, in which he predicted an intensification of persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses that would culminate in God intervening on their behalf to begin the battle of Armageddon, which would destroy all opposers of God's organization.[111]
In 1926 he discredited Russell's teaching on the importance of Christian "character development" or personal "sanctification"[81][135][136] and a year later discarded the teaching that Russell had been the "faithful and wise servant" of Matthew 24:45–47, warning that the desire to revere men was a snare set by the Devil.[81][137]In May 1926 Rutherford released his book Deliverance at the Bible Student's convention inKensington, England later interpreting the event as the fulfillment of the 1335 days of Daniel 12:12.[138]
In 1927, Christmas was declared to be of pagan origin, and the following year its celebration by Bible Students was condemned as supporting "Satan's organization".[139][140] Mother's Day was condemned in 1931,[141] with other holidays as well as birthdays officially renounced in subsequent years.[142][143]
In 1928 Rutherford discarded Russell's teaching that the natural Jews would be restored to Palestine and return to God's favor, despite having declared ten years earlier that prophecies of their restoration were already being fulfilled with the British takeover of Palestine from Turkey during World War I.[144] He denied there was a role for Jews in God's Kingdom arrangement and by 1933 he had reversed Russell's earlier teaching, claiming that prominent Jewish business leaders were "arrogant, self-important and extremely selfish," and would gain no favored standing with God.[145] The teaching that God would restore the Jews to Palestine was discontinued around the same time.[146]
Russell's teaching that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built under God's direction[147] was overturned in 1928, when Rutherford asserted that it had been built under the direction of Satan for the purpose of deceiving God's people in the last days.[148][149] The announcement prompted further defections among long-time Bible Students.[150][151]
In 1930, Rutherford published a systematic reinterpretation of the book of Revelation.[152] Many of the symbols recorded in the book were applied to events following 1918, specifically to Watch Tower conventions held in the years 1922 through 1928.[153] These reinterpretations reflected both a wholesale rejection of his own earlier views as well as the historicist interpretations of Pastor Russell.[154][155][156]
At a Washington, D.C. convention in 1935, Rutherford rejected Russell's teaching that the "great company" of Revelation 7:9 was a "secondary spiritual class" composed of millions of Christians who would be resurrected to heaven apart from the 144,000 "elect", and instead argued that the "great multitude", the "sheep" of Matthew 25 and the "Jonadabs" of 2 Kings chapter 10 all picture the people who could potentially survive Armageddon and receive everlasting human life on earth if they became Jehovah's Witnesses before it began.[157][158]
In 1935, Rutherford objected to U.S. state laws requiring school students to salute the flag as a means of instilling patriotism; in the 1936 Yearbook he declared that baptized Jehovah's Witnesses who did salute theflag were breaking their covenant with God and were thus "guilty of death".[159] 
1938- Face The Facts! - Talk at Royal Albert Hall in London
In 1940, children in 43 states were expelled for refusing to salute the flag and the Watch Tower Society took most cases to court, with Rutherford personally leading the unsuccessful case of Minersville School District v. Gobitis. Controversy over the flag salute issue escalated and mob attacks became prevalent in many U.S. states until 1943 when the court overruled its previous decision in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.[160] A U.S. law magazine noted how Jehovah's Witnesses had helped shape the course of constitutional law, remarking: "Through almost constant litigation this organization had made possible an ever-increasing list of precedents concerning the application of the 14th amendment to freedom of speech and religion".[161]
In 1936, Rutherford rejected the belief that Jesus had been executed on a Roman cross, in favor of an upright stake or "tree."[162]
1939 - Government & Peace talk at Madison Square Garden

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

  • Views 1.6k
  • Replies 1
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

  • Member

Hi there! First, I must say amazing and excellent research. I was wondering if you have the source(s) for the following from your first paragraph:

• urging of all Bible Students to cast judgment upon Christendom and its clergy,
• a claim that salvation is tied to membership within the Watch Tower Society
• shunning and censuring any who reject the interpretations given in the volume or related articles in The Watch Tower magazine.

I know its commonplace knowledge, just wondering if you happen to have access to the source material. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Service Confirmation Terms of Use Privacy Policy Guidelines We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.