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Was Charles Russell in the Light?


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The Watchtower Society has continuously boasted that one cannot understand the Bible nor gain eternal life apart from the Organization. For example, The Watchtower (12-1-81, p.27) says, “Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.”

In the early beginnings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower’s first president, Charles Taze Russell, published a series of books called Studies in the Scriptures. In The Watchtower (9-15-1910, Reprints, p.4685) Russell wrote the following about his books, “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.”

Since Charles Russell boldly identified himself as the sole authority of Biblical interpretation and said that one would end up in spiritual darkness without examining his writings, let’s look back and see some of the spiritual “light” that was revealed in them.

The 2nd Presence of Jesus

One of the most prevalent teachings throughout Charles Russell’s Studies in the Scripture series was that Christ returned in 1874.

“Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874, A.D.” Studies, Vol. 4, p.621

“The Millennium began in 1874, with the return of Christ.” Studies, Vol. 7, p.386

The Watchtower has since abandoned this doctrine and started teaching in 1943 that Christ’s invisible second presence began in 1914. So, if Witnesses followed Russell’s declaration and read his Studies in the Scriptures series, and not the bible, would they have been in the light regarding this "truth"?


Russell also taught, in his books, that the resurrection of dead Christians occurred in 1878.

“ the spring of 1878 all the holy apostles and other ‘overcomers’ of the Gospel age who slept in Jesus were raised spirit beings....” Studies, Vol. 3, p.234

Currently, the Watchtower teaches that the resurrection of the holy apostles did not occur in 1878, but in 1918. Again, if a loyal Witness only read Russell’s books and not the bible, would he have been in the light of "truth" regarding this teaching?

The Great Pyramid

In Volume 3 of the Studies in the Scriptures, Chapter 10 is called, “The Testimony of God’s Stone Witnesses And Prophet, The Great Pyramid in Egypt”. Many Witnesses do not know that Russell used the measurements of the inner chambers and passageways of the Great Pyramid in Egypt to come up with important dates such as the beginning of Christ’s invisible presence in 1874 and the beginning of the period of trouble in 1914. In fact, the Society once wrote:

"The great Pyramid of Egypt, standing as a silent and inanimate witness of the Lord, is a messenger; and it's testimony speaks with great eloquence concerning the divine plan." The Watchtower, 5-15-1925, p.148

However, later, in 1928, the Watchtower went from identifying the Pyramid as God’s Stone Witness to calling it Satan’s Bible.

"Then Satan put his knowledge into dead stone, which may be called Satan's Bible, and not God's stone witness...." The Watchtower, 11-15-1928, p.344

The above article also said that those who devoted themselves to the pyramid were people whose minds were turned away from Jehovah and His Word. (Wait a minute, wasn’t Charles Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, devoted to the pyramid?) Again, were Witnesses who were more faithful to Russell’s books than to their bibles in the light of God’s "truth" concerning the great Pyramid in Egypt?

The Alpha & Omega

In the 7th volume of the Studies in the Scriptures, called, The Finished Mystery, Jesus Christ is identified as the Alpha & the Omega of Revelation 1:8, 21:6 and 22:13. (“Our Lord’s great honor is shown in that He was not only the first of God’s creation, but the last.”) The Watchtower now teaches that the person identified as the Alpha & the Omega in the above verses is not Jesus Christ but Jehovah God. So, we ask, were early Witnesses in the light of God’s truth regarding this teaching in the Studies in the Scriptures series?

The answer is clear. Anyone who read and believed Russell’s books was in the dark concerning spiritual truth. This is true of anyone who exalts a person or an organization and lets it’s books and magazines interpret the Bible for them. Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth”. This is in sharp contrast to the Watchtower’s statement that says we cannot progress along the road to life or be in the truth apart from them, no matter how much Bible reading we do. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses have come to understand that God’s Word alone is sufficient to bring us into a saving knowledge of His revealed truth. These people have been set free from the false teachings of a controlling organization and have begun new lives in new freedom with Jesus Christ. Remember, those whom the Son sets free, are free indeed!

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