Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventism (Part 1 Historical Origins) by Jason Wright

William_Miller

(William Miller 1782 – 1849)

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventism

Part 1 Historical Origins – by Jason Wright

Introduction

Whether you know it or not we each have a worldview through which we comprehend the world around us. Our worldview is born out of antecedent ideas, information, and experiences that ebb and flow to form an interpretative structure upon which we hang our personal reality. Most of us go about life oblivious to this process, perhaps believing we are independent thinkers, free agents. Yet in truth we are each the product of our sitz-im-leben; our life setting. 

Jehovah’s Witnesses as individuals and the Watch Tower as an organization are no exception. This religious movement traces its antecedents to the separatist branch of Adventism known as age-to-come or one faith, which itself was birthed out of Millerism. 

The modern Watch Tower organization pays little attention to these historical fact and adherents will often remark how Watch Tower origins are unimportant – its all about “new light” they say.

As one Jamaican Witness told me recently historical facts are “old wine – we drink new wine”.

Another Witness complained, “why do you go on about the past”– my answer – to understand the present we must first understand the past.

Thus despite the closed mindset of Watch Tower followers, it is imperative for all of us to take stock of why we believe the things we believe. Comprehending historical antecedents play a major role in arriving at an answer. Why does the Watch Tower play down its past? Why are members discouraged from searching out old articles and books? The answer is simple; to follow the paper trail to its source means to decode, deconstruct and expose this religious enigma as nothing more than the amalgamation and expansion of various Adventist doctrines, nothing more and nothing less. So from the Watch Tower’s perspective the past must be kept silent.

Due to the vast information involved this article will be divided into two parts. The first is a historical survey of Millerism, which later evolved into Adventism. Part two will consist of a survey of the effects of aberrational adventist groups upon the worldview of Charles Taze Russell and the subsequent Watch Tower organization.

The overall objective of this article is to help Jehovah’s Witnesses understand that their spiritual father is not Charles Taze Russell but various Adventist preachers, specifically those holding to age-to-come beliefs. As such from its inception the Watch Tower organization has been built upon the imaginations of men rather than sound biblical exegesis.

Millennialism

It is important to understand that Millerism was an “Advent” driven movement, that is, a movement that focused on the date of Christ return. Yet how can a date be set for Christ return? The simple answer is it cannot; yet for centuries Christians have speculated on when Christ might return. “Apocalyptic books were read under the conviction that God infused history with meaning and that the climax of God’s work in History would soon arrive; God and History coming together in a great age of peace” (Alden, 1987 p. 3). This passion for Christ return and subsequent age of peace otherwise known as the thousand-year reign of Christ or Millennium, drove many to seek ways of unlocking prophecy. In pursuit of the “Advent” an interpretive method evolved known as Historicist Premillennialism.[1]

Historicist Premillennialism

Premillennialism (in its basic sense) holds to the conviction that after Christ returns (second Advent) he will set up his rule on earth for one thousand years terminating in the consummation of the age (cf. Revelation Chapter 20). Immediately preceding this golden age is the Church age; an interim period before the establishment of Christ Millennial Kingdom. In Millerism this basic model is modified by surveying prophecy as being gradually fulfilled throughout history leading to the Advent, hence the term historicist premillennialism.

It should be noted that from the reformation to the French revolution the Historicist method was the dominant force among Bible scholars seeking to unlock the books of Daniel and Revelation. Relating history with prophecy scholars began creating complex chronologies. However, to do so one essential ingredient was needed, namely the ability to convert prophetic “days” into years. This equation, namely, one prophet day equals one literal year originates with first century Jewish Rabbi Aquibah ben Joseph. Known as the “day-for-a-year” principle subsequent Christian interpreters such as Joachim of Fiores (1135-1202) adopted this method. Thus numerically charged pericope, such as 1,260 days (Daniel 7:25), 2,300 days (Daniel 8:14) were converted into literal years resulting in the creation of complex chronological systems, wherein prophetic material was arbitrarily dovetailed with historic events.

One early example of connecting biblical prophecy with actual historical figures can be seen from Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) who identified Rome as Babylon, the Pope as the Man of Sin and Mohammedans as the “little horn” of Daniel 7. Later Archbishop James Usher (1581-1656) published Annales which remained the standard biblical chronology for over two hundred years. Other’s followed such as Joseph Mede (1586-1638) with his classic work Clavis Apocalyptica (keys to the Apocalypse), Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733) and many others to boot. (Johnson, 2015, pp. 33-62; Jonsson, 2004, pp. 23-38).

The most important stimulus to prophetic speculation was the French Revolution of the 1790’s wherein social and political upheavals, alongside the sacking of Rome by Napoleon’s Army in 1798 convinced many that the end of the age was imminent (Knight 2010, p. 13).

America was likewise slowly overcome with historicist premillennial interpretation, so much so that by the early nineteenth century “America was drunk on the Millennium” (Sandeen, 1970, p. 42).

Millerism

William Miller was a man of his times. Affected by war (Battle of Plattsburgh 1812) Miller began his journey a skeptic. Enamored with enlightenment rationalism Miller adopted a deist position resulting in conflict with his Baptist tradition. However America of the 1820’s entered what historians call the Jacksonian era, wherein “every person could exercise his or her God-given talents without the need of experts” simply by exercising common sense (Knight 2010, p. 31).

No doubt this atmosphere of independence helped Miller reassess his Baptist upbringing and in particular address problematic biblical doctrines. By 1816 Miller confessed to a conversion experience, subsequently rejecting deism, while holding firmly to elements of rationalism that later regulates his study of scripture. “Another important element” in Miller’s approach to scripture was the influence of the restorationist movement. “Undergirding restorationism is the belief that the New Testament church is the ideal model for God’s people and that the model had been lost and needed restoring” (Knight, 2010, p. 32). 

Consequently Miller approached scripture as a rationalist, literalist and restorationist. With these presuppositions he began examining scripture believing that the Bible itself was a self-interpreting book. Moreover he concluded that biblical symbolism and figurative passages could be unlocked by giving them a literal meaning. Such methods were “in harmony with the times” and likely influenced by previous scholarship. (Barkun, 1986, p. 36).

As Miller continued his studies his prophetic speculation grew. The core of his conclusions being the assertion that “Jesus Christ [would] come again to this earth, cleanse, purify, and take possession of the same, with all the saints, sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844″ (Everett, 1994, pp. 96–97).

Miller’s restorationist position, evangelistic appeal, and chronological speculation struck a chord with ten’s of thousands of American’s. Enamored with a positive message, Millerite preachers spoke successfully in hundreds of mainstream Churches resulting in  Millerite sympathisers within the denominations. Nevertheless, many opposed the specificity of the 1843/44 prophecy and overtime more and more denominations closed their doors to Millerite preachers.

The consequence of rejection was sectarianism, resulting in the creation of independent Millerite groups, Millerite conferences and the publication of specialist Adventist papers (Sign of the Times & Midnight Cry). Interestingly, the more certain Millerites became of the 1843/44 terminus the more aggressive they became with others who did not share their view. Spurred on by restorationist theology many Adventists began claiming that Christendom was now “apostate” and they alone had truth; their mission being to warn of the coming judgment (Knight, 2010, pp. 120-128). Sound familiar?

The Great Disappointment.

As with all date setter’s what happens when the date fails? March 21st 1843 came and went so Millerites focused on March 21st 1844. Great effort went into the final push to warn everyone who would listen that Jesus was coming again. With the non-appearance of Christ came great disappointment. Miller himself was honest enough to admit the failure of his March 21st 1844 date; nevertheless he did not go far enough in rejecting his own speculations. Instead he (and others) pushed the date forward.

Miller lamented; should I complain if God should give a few days or even months more as probation time? (Knight, 2010, p. 137).

The dates next proposed were April 18th 1844, then October 22nd 1844. With each failure came the question: Why?

The Albany Conference

Millerism should naturally have died the death of a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Matthew 24:26). Indeed without an Advent date many Christians did abandon Adventism and returned to their former denominations. However a small group refused to admit failure and sought alternative explanations.

In 1845, sixty-one Millerite delegates attended the Albany Conference. This was called to attempt to determine the future course and meaning of the Millerite movement. Following this meeting, the “Millerites” then became known as “Adventists” or “Second Adventists”. However, the delegates disagreed on several theological points. Out of the conference emerged four main streams:

1)   The Evangelical Adventists

2)   The Life and Advent Union

3)   The Advent Christian Church

4)   The Seventh-day Adventist Church

(cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventism).

Spiritualization

If Adventism was to survive, the 1844 failures had to be explained. What occurred was a bizarre hermeneutical reversal. Miller had originally founded his dates upon a rational, literal, hermeneutic, with an element of typology. Yet out of necessity a new hermeneutic had to be employed. After all “how could Adventism continue to exist in a world, which stubbornly refused to end?” (Knight, 2010, 237). The first step of the rescue mission was to read their movement back into the biblical text. To a fair degree Adventist preachers had already been doing this. Remember, the historicist hermeneutic seeks to locate prophecy in history; hence it was not unnatural to imbue their own experiences back onto the prophetic material.

The second step came by way of “new light” or progressive theology. In other words they argued that biblical interpretation is fluid, always changing depending on revealed truth. Applying this “new light” methodology various explanations were proposed.

Apollos Hale and Joseph Turner looked again at the parable of the foolish virgins (Matthew 25). They read the events of 1844 back into the parable teaching that the work of general salvation had ended as of October 22nd 1844 and that

“Christ had come spiritually as the bridegroom, the wise virgins had gone in with him and the door was shut to all others.” (Knight, 2010, p. 200). 

Despite this convenient interpretation, converts continued to be made, so how could the door to salvation have been shut in 1844? A new explanation was needed.

Originally Miller had taught that the “sanctuary” mentioned in Daniel 8:14 related to earth, it’s cleansing and purification. Clearly this literal explanation had failed so Adventists revisited the text concluding that Jesus had actually cleansed the heavenly sanctuary in 1844. Therefore October 22nd 1844 stood for the change of Christ’s ministry. In this way the nature of the event was shifted from Christ Second Advent to Christ’s ministry of sanctuary cleansing. This prophetic reworking gave Adventists a theological framework by which to process the great disappointment of 1844 and in turn continue existing as an Adventist movement. Miller himself died in 1849 and so never lived to see the evolution of his prophetic speculations.

Over time the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) became the most successful Adventist group. This new branch of Adventism believed that the “cleansing” of the heavenly sanctuary involved a work of judgment as depicted in the courtroom scene of Daniel 7:9-12 immediately prior to the second coming of Christ described in Daniel 7:13-14. In other words according to SDA Jesus is presently involved in an “investigative judgment” in heaven, in which the lives of professed believers pass in review before God. So after all the prophetic speculations and disappointment Adventists are still waiting for the second coming!

Adventist eschatology

Adventist eschatology – click to enlarge

The main point to grasp is this. With failure came two options, either ditch the whole thing or reinvent the message. Sadly those choosing the latter moved away from sound biblical exegesis, being forced to create new meaning by way spiritualization. Employing this method Adventists could read the events of 1844 back into the sacred text. Thus at the heart of these revisionist explanations is a soft form of reader response criticism, a hermeneutical method by which the reading community creates meaning according to their own particular needs. Overall the needs of the community superseded the plain reading of scripture.

Seventy years later (1914) Charles Taze Russell’s “end of the age” predications likewise failed. Analogous with Miller’s early death (1849) Russell too died soon after his 1914 failure (1916) leaving Joseph Rutherford to pick up the pieces. The correlation between the events of early Adventism (1844-1850) and the Watch Tower period (1914-1925) are uncanny. Both groups re-invented their chronological systems based upon the needs of the community and so-called “new light”. However this corollary is not unexpected because as shall be seen Russell and his followers were at heart Adventist (by Adventist I do not mean the strict forms of early Millerism nor SDA but rather age-to-come branches).

Schism & New Doctrines

Returning to Adventism, it is important to understand that the followers of Miller came from all walks of life and denominational backgrounds. Their unity was based solely upon the Advent date of 1844. Hence no theological unity existed, the movement had no faith statement, because believers expected to be in heaven by 22nd October 1844 (at the latest!). However, non-appearance necessitated the formulation of theological and doctrinal statements. However, with such an eclectic mixture of “theologies” schism invariably ensued; each new group defined their own specific brand of Adventist thought.

Adventist Schisms - click to enlarge

Adventist Schisms – click to enlarge

What follows is a selection of groups that directly or indirectly influenced the Watch Tower founder C. T. Russell.

The Evangelical Adventists

This group reflected more fully the  theology of their founder William Miller, indeed Miller remained with this group up to his death. Joshua V. Himes supported their periodical, the Advent Herald. The groups doctrinal position remained premillennial and they expected Christ return would be literal and in person wherein Jesus would rule and reign with the redeemed for one thousand years followed by the consummation of the age and the eternal realm. They also held to a conscious afterlife and that the wicked experience a conscious state of punishment and torment. In fact orthodoxy remained central to this groups theology. Overtime this group merged with our second group the Advent Christians. It is presumed that a good number of Adventists holding to orthodoxy returned to mainstream Christianity.

Advent Christian Church (Advent Christian General Conference)

Founded by Jonathan Cummings, this group believed in soul sleep, annihilationism and rejected the trinity doctrine. Cumming’s recalculated Miller’s chronology concluding that Miller had been out by ten years and that Jesus would return in 1854. Needless to say the new date resulted in further schism.

Those holding to 1854 (called second Adventists) published a new periodical entitled World Crisis. Herein articles by Nelson H. Barbour were published wherein he proposed a new calculation for Jesus return, namely 1874. Barbour published his work in 1871 entitled Evidences for the Coming of the Lord in 1873, or The Midnight Cry. One devoted Barbourite was Jonas Wendell who published his views in the booklet entitled The Present Truth, or Meat in Due Season. More importantly for Jehovah’s Witnesses it was Barbour and Wendell’s brand of Adventism that directly influenced the young C. T. Russell.

Interestingly Barbour and Russell both believed 1844 was a prophetically important date. For them 1844 signalled the beginning of a thirty year antitypical tarrying period corresponding to Jesus Birth and Baptism and ending in 1874.

However, with the failure of Christ literal return in 1874 Barbour was forced to deliteralize the second coming (see below B. W. Keith) Additionally he taught a new end-time date, namely that the gentile times would end in 1914 – a framework of dates which Russell later adopted into his own chronological system (Schulz, 2009, pp. 102-103). Analogous with 1844, the spiritualizing of 1874 acted as a self-correcting method against prophetic failure.

The Life and Advent Union

Founded by George Storrs and John Walsh in 1863 as a break-away from the Advent Christian Church. Storrs popularized the teaching of Henry Grew a former Baptist Minister turned itinerant preacher. Grew rejected the Trinity, immortality of the soul (conditionalism), and a hell of literal eternal torment. (Johnson, 2015, p. 140). Storrs periodical the Bible Examiner was another source of inspiration for the young Charles who read and accepted Grew’s teachings on conditionalism, soul sleep, and annihilationism – doctrines that formed part of Russell’s own theological formulations.

Church of God Abrahamic Faith (Age-to-come Adventists)

Founded in 1864 by autodidact Biblical scholar Benjamin Wilson and Joseph Marsh. This group began as a small Bible study group among friends and family, including Dr. John Thomas who went on to found the Christadelphians. Thomas taught that elements of the Abrahamic convent were yet to be fulfilled, a belief that Russell developed in line with his understanding of Jewish National restoration.

Wilson (himself a printer) published the newsletter The Gospel Banner and later produced an English-Interlinear Bible entitled the Emphatic Diaglott. Adventist B. W. Keith drew upon Wilson’s work to explain the non-appearance of Jesus in 1874. Keith believed Wilson’s translation of parousia as “presence”, indicated a spiritual presence in the world unseen to the naked eye. Russell likewise accepted this interpretation teaching that Jesus return constitutes an invisible presence.  

Another unique teaching of the age-to-come Adventists was the notion that some persons would receive salvation after the Millennium had begun – in other words in the age-to-come some would get a second chance. Again Russell accepted the age-to-come doctrines teaching his followers that bodily resurrection would take place in the Millennium wherein all would receive a second chance at salvation.

In 1911 schism occurred and the age-to-come Adventists split, the majority taking the name “Church of God General Conference” Here is a list of some of their doctrines:

  •  Churches are called “ekklesia”
  •   They are Unitarian – deny Jesus deity – anti-Trinitarian
  •   Jesus is the only begotten Son, a mediator.
  •  The Holy Spirit is God’s power
  •   They are conditionalists – deny immortality of soul
  •    The Kingdom of Heaven, will be the Kingdom of Israel, restored in the Holy land   
  •    Baptism by water
  •   They are pacifist and do not participate in politics.
  •   Annihilationist – destruction of wicked
  •    Denial of eternal torment in hell

Unless otherwise informed this list could easily be mistaken for a list of Jehovah’s Witness teaching, the points are staggeringly similar, underscoring the fact that Watch Tower teachings are far from unique but reflect the doctrines of fellow Adventist groups. Of all the Adventist off shoots Russellite theology owes more to age-to-come or One faith doctrine than any other schismatic branch.

Conclusion

The above is only a brief survey of 19th Century Millerism/Adventism. What can we conclude? Firstly, well-meaning, zealous Bible students can and do make serious mistakes. Our Adventist example is William Miller. Secondly, the followers of well-meaning men oftentimes recapitulate the error of their teachers by building upon the original error. For example Miller arrived at the date 1844 through a literal, historicist hermeneutic but this methodology was jettisoned in favor of spiritualization. Why? – Because the needs of the community superseded the plain reading of scripture. The only viable option for those who insisted 1844 was a correct date was spiritualization.

When reviewing Adventist and Watch Tower History it is strikingly obvious that prophetic speculators never seem to learn! It is as if the search for a date acts like opium on the brain, an addiction. Yet we must ask the obvious question, what did Jesus say about his return? Did he give us a date? 

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Mark 13:32 (ESV)

“If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible.” Matthew 24:23-24 (BSB)

“Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” Luke 21:8 (NIV)

What about the date setter who states emphatically that the date arrived at is biblically accurate – i.e. from God’s own word.

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (ESV)

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness listen to the voice of reason. Firstly Jesus himself said that no one can know in advance the day or hour of his return. Secondly William Miller, Nelson Barbour, Jonas Wendell, George Storrs and other abberrational voices, remain the true spiritual fathers of Charles Taze Russell. Zion’s Watch Tower reflected the sitz-im-leben of Russell. Therefore the core beliefs of both modern-day Bible Students and Jehovah’s witnesses originate outside of scripture with aberrational preachers, who were sincere, but sincerely wrong.

With these facts in mind I submit to Jehovah’s Witness this question; if all the doctrines you believe in have originated in aberrational forms of adventism, how can you say that the “faithful slave” and its teachings are anything other than borrowed? In turn how can you submit to an organization which calls itself the “faithful slave” when most if not all of its teaching are the vain imaginations of men – doctrines and chronologies invented ex nihlio to meet the needs of the community.

I pray this article will challenge you to examine your faith, examine the origins of your teachings, and prayerfully search the scriptures to see if the Bible really does teach the things the Watch Tower asserts. Don’t be content to be spoon fed from Brooklyn. Use your God-given intellect to check and double-check if these doctrines hold water. Put down the Watch Tower lens and read scripture with fresh eyes, an open heart, and a mind-set on truth. God will not fail to show you the truth about the “truth”.

May the LORD open your eyes to his truth, which is found in and through Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior. To him be the glory and honor for all eternity,

Amen and Amen

Jason Wright

References:

Alden, D. R. (1987) “The Miller Heresy, Millerism, and American Culture” Temple University Press, Philadelphia

Barkun, M. (1986). “Crucible of the Millenium: The burned-over District of New York in the 1840’s” Syracuse University Press, New York

Crompton, R. (1996) “Counting the Days to Armageddon – Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Second Presence of Christ” James Clarke & Co. Cambridge

Everett, D. N. (1994). “William Miller and the Advent Crisis” Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press

Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2001) “Israelology – `The Missing Link in Systematic Theology” Arial Ministries California

Grenz, S. J. (1992) “The Millennial Maze – Sorting Out Evangelical Options” Inter Varsity Press Illinois

Jonsson, C. (2004) “The Gentile Times Reconsidered” Commentary Press, Atlanta

Johnson, R. (2015) “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree” Global Destiny

Knight, G. R. (2010) “William Miller and the Rise of Adventism” Pacific Press Publishing Association, Ontario

Loughborough, J. N. (2015) “The Great Second Advent Movement – Its Rise and Progess” Adventist Pioneer Library.

Sandeen, E. R. (1970). “The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism 1800-1930” Chicago University Press

Schulz, B. W., de Vienne, R. (2009). “Nelson Barbour – The Millennium’s Forgotten Prophet” Fluttering Wings Press

Zydek, F. (2010) “Charles Taze Russell – His Life and Times, The Man, the Millennium and the Message” Winthrop Press Connecticut.

NOTES

[1] Other positions include:

Postmillennialism – this view holds that the millennial Kingdom began with the first coming of Christ and terminates with the second coming. It is not limited to one thousand years but covers the entire period of the Church age. Postmillennial adherents look for a golden age wherein the victorious church will conquer the world for Christ usher in the spiritual millennium in preparation for Christ return, this golden age sets forth a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men.

Amillenialism – this view holds that the millennial Kingdom began with the first coming of Christ and terminates with the second coming. It is not limited to one thousand years but covers the entire period of the Church age. Amillenialists reject the notion of a golden age believing the world to grown increasingly worse culminating with the appearance of anti-Christ before Christ return and consummation of the age.

 

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Categorised in: adventism, New Light

18 Responses »

  1. Outstanding article, well researched and presented in a logical and clear manner. May God bless you and all who read this important document.

    • Many thanks, your encouragement is much appreciated. Every blessing – Jason

      • Jason, it’s taken me this long to study the various comments and I have to say I have found your replies extremely informative and useful.

        Tim pointed out that John Wesley “repeated John Bengel’s confident assertion that the destruction of the Beast of Revelation would take place on Sunday 18 June 1836.” And that “Bengel himself admitted that there would be greater “light” in the future as more of history unfolded.” I also agree with him that Luther, Bengel and Wesley had the purist of motives in their Historicist approach to the fulfilment of Bible prophecies.

        However, there is a significant difference between those godly men and the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses still cling to 1914, insisting that was when Jesus started to rule (invisibly) from heaven. Even though they have recently admitted that, with hindsight, they got lots of things wrong in the past they refuse to acknowledge that if Jehovah had chosen them as his earthly organization in 1918 then all their future predictions and interpretations should have been accurate. They were not and they continue to be in error. They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong and they are excluding 8 million people from the kingdom of God. I make those statements on the basis that my parents became Witnesses in the late 1930’s and I myself was brought up in that organization till I voted with my feet when nothing happened after 1975. That is another example of how false teachers attempt to manipulate people into more fervent activity. They claim to speak for Jehovah and make all those claims in his name, yet they are so wrong.

        Methodists do not cling to wrong dates, nor do they claim that they alone have God’s truth and that everybody else is part of “false religion” soon to be destroyed at Armageddon. Neither do Methodists say that you have to be a member of their organization in order to survive it. The same is true of U.K. Baptists. Neither denomination gets caught up in genealogies and dates, or end-time predictions. I mention those two denominations because I know about them, whereas I don’t know much about Adventists.

        You summed it up beautifully in this comment: “Whether or not a Christian holds to these views has no bearing on their salvation. I’m sure you would agree we are saved by grace alone in Christ alone. Hence conditionalism and annhilationism are peripheral to the Gospel. As such the burden of our ministry here at UPFC is to help Jehovah’s Witnesses come to saving grace. Understanding the origins of the Watch Tower organisation, is I believe, an important part of breaking down there mettanarrative.”

        Amen to that, and may the Holy Spirit continue to draw people into the light and the freedom that comes from placing our faith in Christ Jesus and not in the interpretations of men.

      • Hi Lesley, thanks for your comments – much appreciated.

        All bible believing Christians, no matter what denomination will say they await Jesus return. Some will be more eschatologically minded than others. Some will apply methods of prophetic interpretation and make links between history and prophecy. Bengal and Wesley are examples of this, they each had a desire to make sense of the prophetic word. Yet as you say these dates are not the focus of Methodists, Baptists, etc. indeed today many are wary of extreme forms of prophetic speculation.

        As you rightly point out Jehovah’s witnesses – following the spiritualising method employed by Adventists concerning the date 1844 – state emphatically that Jesus has returned invisibly! First in 1874 then in 1914! How convenient that Jesus literal return is actually invisible! Furthermore by reading their movement (for example the society history of 1914-1925) back into scripture they create a new paradigm, alien to original authorial intent. The result is a cultic mindset, an illusion whereby the organisation and Jehovah merge into one. So powerful is this illusion that every member pledges unconditional allegiance to it. This is not the case in Christendom. We each are free in Christ, at liberty to study, discover and reject. We don’t need to believe exactly the same things, dotting and ticking every last doctrine because our unity is in Christ alone by faith alone!

        Nevertheless the danger still exists that Christians can (and do) get bogged down with peripheral doctrines, which respectfully, may never be resolved this side of heaven. Personally I find eschatology fascinating and have my own take on this, but it must never be the cause of division. Instead we must hold to the core of the Christian message; the Gospel. No amount of knowledge concerning end times will save a person, and certainly following the WT won’t save a person. The centrality of our faith revolves around Christ.

        Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
        Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
        Eph 1:5 In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
        Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
        Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
        Eph 1:8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
        Eph 1:9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
        Eph 1:10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
        Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
        Eph 1:12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
        Eph 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
        Eph 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
        Eph 1:15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
        Eph 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
        Eph 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
        Eph 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
        Eph 1:19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
        Eph 1:20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
        Eph 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
        Eph 1:22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
        Eph 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

        We who know Jesus are saved. How incredible a gift! How liberating!
        Praise the LORD
        Amen!

  2. Hi, it is not every logical manner, but few logical and other that is illogical as jump to conclusion as assume as it is logical and right. If you jump to conclusion that don’t mean it is entirely logical.

    For one thing, ya say this article is Adventist as an answer that is ‘The answer is simple; to follow the paper trail to its source means to decode, deconstruct and expose this religious enigma as nothing more than the amalgamation and expansion of various Adventist doctrines, nothing more and nothing less.’. So, they are secretly Adventist, not true JW. So, that would mean it is misleading them as leader of JW knows. I don’t know what is your mind process about this. But it seems that way because you used certain word Amalgamation to Adventist. Ya say they are Amalgamation because it is similar to them or similar process to them, like set up dating.

    I could say same thing about you that you are secretly Catholic as you believe trinity like them.

    Well, it is not an amalgamation, but similar ideas that is all. An idea that JW are sincere as date setting. The date setting that would lead end of word for all human. That idea was wrong as JW forgot or didn’t know in past the important scripture don’t set date about end of world. That don’t mean they are false prophet, as they are on purpose to mislead them, then they are not sincere, but misguide sincere.

    It is sincere from JW because they follow the bible careful, more careful than Adventist or better than them or both careful and better. You could be careful and not better or be careful and be better. To be careful and be better that is represent to change if you are mistake knowingly.

    Not to be arrogant in small way or big way, but humble in all things. Which we are human and limit, so be willing to change, not assume we are unlimited and not willing to change, which is in your ability in your mind that you refuse to change mentally.

    The whole point you talk about past and not learn about the past that they are secretly Adventist. Well, it is not need to know about the past, unless it is most important and the foundation. To know the negative past, is not need to be know, but positive past, except in the bible. The bible is more important than human’s book, which it is article like watchtower and other stuff. So, since human are limit that mean what they absorb and resist is limit. They will absorb, but not resist the wrong thing and be lead to wrong thing that is why it is not need to know the past and de-courage to look in the past. There is past book in library, yearbook at kingdom hall. If a book about past that can mislead a person to wrong path, then it is not good for them to read it, right. It is more kind for them, the leader to tell them not to read book that could mislead them. It is a good idea, and not forbid, but if they read, they better be strong in their mind to resist and ask questions and not jump to conclusion.

    One thing you mention vain imagination which connect to Adventist and you say they are sincere. Well, if it is vain imagination, then they are not sincere but misguide sincere, as they are using their mind to assume reality, not actual reality from bible and figure it out and common sense. That mean it is mislead as manipulation, as they are not good. So, they are bad, not entirely bad as to kill and steal, but bad in small way to kill individual’s feeling that is right or thought that is right, and replace with another thought or another feeling.

    To be accurate any mis-giving of JW is native as not enough knowledge to lead better or new knowledge accurate, but mistake knowledge. What they do is not mis-giving on purpose to mislead them in wrong way on purpose. To manipulation them. For example, Charles set up date for 1914 about all people will go to heaven, which mean all people on earth will die and people that is under Charles will live. It is a mistake in set dating, and logical that all people in 1914 will know about Charles’s Religious and be saved. People at Charles’ times is too small to impact all people in time of closing to 1914, the ratio is much lower than today. It was not manipulation on Charles’ part, but forgot or not forgot the scripture about set up dating.

    • Hello again,

      I see you are still reading my posts! Thank you.

      I have spent a lot of time responding to your messages in the past and as I have explained before my time is in short supply. So let me just say this.

      Charles Taze Russell received his doctrines and ideas NOT from the Bible, but from Adventist preachers. He did not sit down and study the Bible thus arriving at soul sleep, annihilationism, etc. NO Russell from a very young age sat under the teaching of Adventists. Therefore my overall thesis in part 1 is this: Russell employed Adventist teachings, doctrines, and interpretive methodologies in order to arrive at his particular “truth” – THIS IS FACT and therefore he was at heart an Adventist.

      More importantly when Miller and his followers – then later Russell and his followers – experienced failure instead of abandoning their chronological systems they each overlaid the pericope with ideas alien to the original author. You simply cannot take a verse of scripture and create new meaning. To do so is eisegesis. Yet to rescue the date 1844 and the date 1914, that is exactly what the followers of Miller and Russell did. They read the the experiences of their community back into the scriptures, Why? Because they did not want to abandon the date and admit they were wrong! To do so would be the end of their movement.

      However, you seem unable to connect the dots, arguing that the past is unimportant because we have new light. This is red herring. You simply cannot ignore the past especially when the methods employed to prop up the doctrines follow no rules of interpretation. In other words Miller, Barbour, Russell, Rutherford each ignored exegetical rules and created meaning according to the needs of their community by way of spiritualisation. As I acknowledged, I believe each of these men were sincere, but were sincerely wrong because their hermeneutical foundation was inadequate.

      I note you say: “it is not need to know about the past, unless it is most important and the foundation.” That is exactly my point! Understanding that Adventists and later Russell and Rutherford employed a spiritualising, reader response method to interpret scripture underscores their foundational error! Employing this method the Watch Tower can create new meaning at will, simply calling it “new light” and you my friend accept it without any reservation. Why?

      It is heartbreaking for me to read of your ongoing defence of an organisation which is so obviously in error.

      I continue praying for your enlightenment.

      Shalom – Jason

  3. Thank you Jason. Very informative.

  4. I gather from your teaching that you follow a Dispensationalist interpretation of the Bible. This did not exist prior to the 1830s. The historic view of the church was either Preterist or Historicist. Martin Luther, John Bengel and John Wesley all followed the Historicist interpretation of prophecy and all had incorrect predictions. It’s not some cultic “Adventist” doctrine as you assert.

    Have you researched John Bengel? He is not widely known in this country, but was widely respected in his day. John Wesley called him “that great light of the Christian world” and reproduced his interpretation of Revelation in his commentary on the New Testament. Bengel strongly believed that prophecy could be better understood as time went on and as prophecies were fulfilled and their meaning made plain. “Greater light awaits posterity” he said.

    The Historicist interpretive method is not something made up by Adventist “false prophets”. Neither are the doctrines of soul sleep or annihilationism. Luther, Tyndale and Wycliffe were all either sympathetic towards, or outright advocates of soul sleep. As for annihilationism, or put another way, conditionalism, you have two articles on Watchtower Investigated from someone who supports conditionalism. I don’t like it when people misrepresent doctrines held by respected members of the church as “cultic doctrines”.

    • Hello Tim,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. May I ask are you an Adventist?

      I should like to make clear that this article has not been written as a discussion of eschatological positions (preterism, historicism, futurism, dispensationalism etc.) nor as a discussion of the viability of conditionalism and annihilationism. These latter doctrines are simply noted as being part of later Adventist groups (Miller remained orthodox) which were then incorporated into Watch Tower theology.

      Whether or not a Christian holds to these views has no bearing on their salvation. I’m sure you would agree we are saved by grace alone in Christ alone. Hence conditionalism and annhilationism are peripheral to the Gospel. As such the burden of our ministry here at UPFC is to help Jehovah’s Witnesses come to saving grace. Understanding the origins of the Watch Tower organisation, is I believe, an important part of breaking down there mettanarrative.

      Just so you know my heart. I did acknowledge the historicist hermeneutic at work during the church age especially after the medieval period; “It should be noted that from the reformation to the French revolution the Historicist method was the dominant force among Bible scholars seeking to unlock the books of Daniel and Revelation.” Therefore you misunderstand me if you think I’m trying to say Adventists created this method I’m not. Nor am I saying it is not another viable option of prophetic interpretation. In fact I’m just about to read two volumes written by Ronald N. Cooke “Antichrist Exposed – The reformed and Puritan View of the Antichrist” so please don’t take me for some unread, dispensational fruit cake. I am not.

      What I am saying is this: William Miller was a man of his times. Affected by his sitz-im-leben as we all are. He began with a presupposition and followed that to its conclusion. That is he approached the prophetic material employing the tools of historicist premillennialism. There is no doubt he built upon the chronological systems of other historicists. However he took the day-for-a-year principle too far ending up setting a day, a month and a year for Christ return. Surely you would agree that is a grave error?

      So I am not attacking the historicist hermeneutic per sa but simply highlighting the fact that Miller employed this. More importantly for this study, is the fact that the failure of 1844 led to a spiritualising of the events in order to rescue the date. The needs of the community being read back into the events of 1844. Rutherford did exactly the same after 1914 failured to produce the end-of-the age. Surely you would agree neither the events of 1844 or 1914 can be found in scripture?

      I am fully aware of Tyndale and Luther’s views and in hindsight I should have mentioned these in order to offset any negative response from those holding to similar doctrines. My apology for not doing so. I would say that in many ways Tyndale and Luther’s view of soul sleep was a reaction to the Roman Catholic teaching of purgatory. After all if your asleep after death until the resurrection then that ends all discussion of purgatory. However reactive doctrines can themselves be in error and I do not believe this view reflects the complete revelation of scripture concerning death/afterlife/resurrection. But that’s another discussion which can be investigated individually outside of this blog.

      You say: “I don’t like it when people misrepresent doctrines held by respected members of the church as “cultic doctrines” – that was never my intention. Rather my inclusion of these doctrines was to show how Miller’s orthodoxy was slowly replaced by doctrines not held by the MAJORITY of the church which in turn were adopted by Russell and today form part of Watch Tower theology. If you agree with the JW’s on these points you are at liberty to do so. However, my personal understanding of scripture, having spent much time studying the afterlife in the OT and NT have led me to the conclusion that these are erroneous doctrines.

      For those unsure about these doctrines and others. I’d recommend the following books which weigh and argue both sides. Remember we are at liberty to disagree on peripheral doctrines so long as we understand and accept the true Gospel.

      PRO Annhilationism / Conditionalism “The Fire that consumes” Edward W. Fudge
      ANTI Annhilationism / Conditionalism “Death and the Afterlife” Dr. Robert A. Morey
      ON Ressurection and Immortality “Raised Immortal & Resurrection Immortality in the New Testament” Murray J. Harris
      ON Post-morterm retribution “Shades of Sheol – Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament” Philip S. Johnston
      PRO Historicist Premillennialism from a SDA perspective “The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers” Leroy E. Froom
      ANTI Historicist Premillennialism “The End of Historicism – The Millerite Hermeneutic of Time Prophecies in the Old Testament” Kai Arasola

      I trust this addresses your concerns.
      Every blessing in Yeshua our LORD Jesus
      Jason

      • I’m not Adventist. I don’t like to label my beliefs as I think that it just gets in the way of open discussion. I don’t like to take anything on authority but to consider both sides of an argument.

        My original reply was not meant as a defence of any particular date or time from Russell or anyone else. I agree that date setting is dangerous, however I don’t believe that it necessarily is the same thing as false prophecy (which is probably another issue altogether). Personally, I agree that we should not set a date, but I respect the faith of many of those who have done so out of genuine reverence for the Word of God and a desire to understand it’s prophecies.

        Many respected Christians have engaged in date setting. As I said, John Wesley repeated John Bengel’s confident assertion that the destruction of the Beast of Revelation would take place on Sunday 18 June 1836. I doubt many today would agree, but I think that Bengel’s motives were pure and I very much respect him for his fervent desire to look to God for the interpretation of Scripture. God’s interpretation, he believed, was found in the pages of history. Bengel, and Wesley after him, got it thoroughly wrong, but I don’t think that this invalidates their method, as Bengel himself admitted that there would be greater “light” in the future as more of history unfolded.

        To my mind, any attempt to interpret the Bible in the Historicist approach (and I believe that Preterism is merely a form of Historicism that looks for fulfillment in the First Century rather than over the centuries), will result in a certain amount of what you consider to be eisegesis. An obvious example would be the Protestant Reformers seeing the reformation and the Papacy as being prophesied in Scripture. Are they reading their own history back into the Bible? Personally I don’t think so.

        Maybe I have misunderstood your point in your article, and as I said, I’m not commenting on the validity of any particular date, but I don’t think that you can criticise any movement for eisegesis just because they use the Historicist method.

      • Thanks Tim,

        Like I said at the beginning of the article we all approach scripture with a presupposition. We don’t come to the text neutral. I believe that Miller and Russell were sincere, as have been Christians seeking to unlock the prophetic text. However as I’ve noted the danger is that we arbitrarily link historic events with the prophetic material. All prophetic experts do this, in all eschatological systems. However, I stand by my belief that the historicist method, can and has been used to date set and has lead to spiritualising interpretations, such as reading a movement and its history back into the sacred text, which is a soft form of reader response criticism. Namely the creation of meaning via the reading community.

        As far as I am aware from church History, the historicist method was all but abandoned by the end of the 18th century for a futurist form of prophetic interpretation, the main subscribers to historicism today being Adventist groups and Jehovah’s witnesses. However, you may know of Christian groups? I’d be interested to know who they are for my own research.

        Having written my Bachelor of Theology dissertation on the hermeneutics of the Watch Tower and studied in depth the historicist method; overall as a method I would say its fine so long as the conclusions are not preached as set in stone, and also that advent date setting be avoided as well as spiritualisation. You only have to peruse the history of historicist interpretations to see they are extremely variable and rely heavily on the day-for-a-year principle, which again I find difficult to accept as sound exegesis. This principle should only be applied where the prophecy definitely means years. Otherwise you create dates/time periods out of nowhere.

        Finally when an error is proven, such as with 1844 or 1914 the date must be abandoned not spiritualised. The latter only leads to building upon the advent failure. In the case of Miller and Russell’s followers they simply could not admit the chronological error. They moved away from a strict historicist method, but nevertheless employed the idea of prophecy being played out in history to formulate a way out. In other words, they read their movement back into the text. A grave error leading to more error, unsubstantiated – eisegesis.

        I do believe scripture (2 Peter 2:1-22; 2 Timothy 4:1-22; 1 Timothy 4:1-5) gives us the mandate to weigh and judge ALL movements and individuals no matter what their perceived status IF what they propose cannot be found in scripture, either implicitly or explicitly. Again the foundations of the spiritualising wing of Adventism and Jehovah’s witnesses have fallen into grave error by insisting that 1844/1914 are biblical.

        You may not agree, that’s fine, but that is my position. Nevertheless interpretation of the prophet material has its place, (I like prophecy!) and I believe pericope can and do have layers, some preterist, some historical, some futurist, sometimes all! But my faith is not built upon prophecy or chronological systems. They are interesting, and at times inspiring but not essential. At the end of the day its all about Jesus, knowing him as your personal saviour and trusting that however the prophetic plan plays out I and all who truly know him will be with him forever! Amen.

        Every blessing
        Jason

  5. Hi, you say exactly the point is ‘That is exactly my point! Understanding that Adventists and later Russell and Rutherford employed a spiritualising, reader response method to interpret scripture underscores their foundational error! Employing this method the Watch Tower can create new meaning at will, simply calling it “new light” and you my friend accept it without any reservation. Why?’.

    So, that is the whole issues, including you typing eisegesis. So, since they have eisegesis as a foundation, so that mean the whole thing is wrong. And you are not under eisegesis, but purely from the bible.

    It is one thing to have an idea that is new that support the bible. for example, an idea was create for new school, how to preach, assume 1914 will be the final of everything that is old. But it is quite an another thing to have an idea that is not supporting the bible, but create primary idea, that is not secondary, which it is eisegesis. Which it is wrong and arrogant and not sincere to people, but misguide sincere. Which the person know that they are wrong but don’t care.

    As I mention Charles do not manipulation them. It is a contradict for you to say they don’t want to abandon their movement and to say they are sincere. It is misguide sincere. So, it have to be honest. And to be careful to not let their sincere to change to something else that is worse, misguide sincere which it is manipulation. To do that would mean it is eisegesis. To have purely bible, so all things must be honest. If they know they do make a mistake and do not change, then it change to not honest, which it will become eisegesis as an omission.

    Charges do have primary idea that is from bible, not take over as a replacement, which mislead people, so they are not sincere as not good. They are sincere which they are good. So, no reason to say JW are wrong unless JW do bad things that you explain to them what bad things that is wrong, and potential bad things if certain right things is not being done, will get worse. Why ya assume they have hermeneutical foundation that was inadequate?

    It is because the main reason you reject them as your believe in different which it is trinity. If you believe in trinity, then you have exegesis. Because as trinity is not bad itself that is negative, but the process it will lead is negative, so it is bad as primary of trinity is confuse and cause problem. So, if you chose to see what I say make sense and refuse to listen to my point, then what you have is misguide sincere in helping people. Ya want to help people to be connect to God, then look what is positive and make sense.

    What is the main reason you don’t listen to my point and think that I am wrong?? Is my point do make sense?? There is no negative on my part or potential negative on my part?

    It is nothing wrong with an idea from another person if that person didn’t look at bible as primary, but from another person that look at bible, as you say Adventists, but those ideas from Adventists is from the bible, even the person didn’t look at bible, but was primary under Adventists at first. As long as an idea is in the bible. So, you don’t think Adventists do follow the bible or do you?? And secondary, which is Charles, which is same way that you believe. So, what is the hermeneutical foundation that was inadequate?

    If I make you point and you listen according, and you make good point and I listen according, then we can combine points for better point from me or from you. If my point make better one, then you chose to pick my point, then you support what is good and from bible. That is from the bible, which is truth and what is good. Truth is good and not bad. Not mean relative truth, like believe in Alien, Evolution, those are relative truth that is invent from human or group of subsequently but not connect humans. Those relative truth are negative truth down the road which cause problem. The absolution truth which it is from God, which that He is good that he provide that is good and make sense. That is from the bible, ya believe?

    • Hello again,

      I will try and be brief. You ask: “[why you] assume they have hermeneutical foundation that was inadequate? Let us be clear on this. Hermeneutics that is the interpretation of scripture is not neutral. We each begin with a presupposition. Your presupposition is that the Watch Tower is God’s channel and its doctrines biblical. This conviction forms your hermeneutic. So you defend its position.

      In the case of a liberal scholar he will approach the Bible as a literary work void of supernaturalism. As such his anti-supernaturalisim will dictate exegesis. Therefore such a person has no choice but to reject miracles as myth.

      These two examples underscore the fact that we approach scripture with an interpretive worldview. Russell did not read the Bible and arrive at meaning. Instead he read the Bible through the lens of Adventism.

      You see hermeneutical rules (historical-grammatical) are employed to limit the creation of meaning outside of the original authorial intent. For example when Matthew wrote his Gospel he had a particular audience in mind. Moreover each narrative he recorded has within it a secondary audience. Our job is to locate meaning within this historical setting. To move outside this boundary is to go beyond the revealed word of God.

      Thus when we read a verse of scripture such as “Who is the faithful and discreet slave” that verse must be located within the historical narrative and within the historical horizon of the author/audience. This rule limits the creation of new meaning. We cannot create new meaning, to do so is eisegesis.

      Yet that is exactly What Russell did, he brought to scripture a method which created new meaning ex nihlo. For example 1914 is not in the Bible. Nor is his date of 1874 for Christ invisible return. The only way these can be arrived at is by employment of a spiritualising method located in complex chronologies. In other words the plain meaning of scripture is ignored. Thus the only way the Watch Tower can become the “faithful slave” is to read the history of the Watch Tower back into that verse. To do so is to violate the authors original meaning. This is eisegsis.

      A rule worth remembering is this:
      “When the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense, lest you end up in nonsense”

      Let us review the facts. Russell sincerely believed in the teachings of Nelson Barbour, so much so that he was convinced Jesus returned in 1874 and that the world would end in 1914. He arrived at these dates outside of scripture. OUTSIDE OF SCRIPTURE! That is eisegesis. A wrong hermeneutic. A wrong foundation.

      Fact: If Rutherford had continued to hold to Russell’s chronology then the Watch Tower would have died. Rutherford rescued the organisation. Without any scriptural warrant he created new meaning – a plethora of new dates. This again is eisegesis. If you accept the Watch Tower as God’s faithful slave on the basis of their doctrines you have missed the point. It’s not their doctrines that prove they are true. Its their foundational hermeneutics! And these are non-existent!

      Here are some of Russells dates:
      1799 End of Papal power
      1829 Unlocking of Daniel by William Miller
      1844 Beginning 30 year tarrying
      1846 cleansing of sanctuary
      1873 end of 6th millennium
      1874 begging of Jesus invisible presence
      1875 Invisible resurrection of saints
      1879 Sanctuary class cleaned – start of Zion’s Watch Tower
      1881 Rapture of remnant
      1914 End of gentile times

      Note Russell built a system by which he could understand prophecy. His focus was on the Advent of Christ. Despite teaching these ideas for 45+ years, by 1925 the Watch Tower, ditches all these dates accept 1914. How can this happen? Only by using a spiritualising hermeneutic. Rutherford reads the events of the Watch Tower movement of 1914-1925 back into the prophetic material. This again is eisegsis. Can you not see this?

      Therefore the Watch Tower has no biblical grounds whatsoever for its claim to be the “faithful slave” – you can argue all the doctrines, but you cannot argue the foundation. They simply are NOT the “faithful slave” such a view is an exegetical impossibility. They read their own movement back into the prophetic material – just as Adventists do!

      I will have to leave it there. Please understand my purpose on this ministry is to help people find the real Jesus. If my explanations are not clear I can only apologise, but I will not be drawn into an ongoing debate. I’ve done that with you before and it goes nowhere. I am seeking people who want to know Jesus. I trust you appreciate and respect my position. I feel God himself must act sovereignly upon you to release you from the Watch Tower’s grip. This is after all a spiritual war we are in. May God release you into his Son’s love.

      Shalom
      Jason

  6. So, basically as a whole, you assume we have presupposition, as a foundation which say 1914 that is not in bible. Well, 1914 is in the bible, not directly, but hint of answer, that lead to actual answer. So, that mean JW know about the bible more than you, if we are wrong and want me to accept you, then you have to explain what do hint of answer means that lead to 1914??

    So, Charles has an exegesis, then when recognize it is an exegesis, he changes according so become non-exegesis, as more right from bible. Of course, it could be exegesis in future when recognize that is not from bible, that is 1914. But directly it is from bible that is 1914.

    As for you, you assume as exegesis, which it is misguide non-exegesis, that you assume what you have is the truth, when you have is exegesis. Why can’t you see that?

    Presupposition is what we have after all we are not infinity in knowledge and anything, so we have set of knowledge, but set of knowledge can either of those two that is exegesis or non-exegesis, and of course the negative counterpart, misguide exegesis or misguide non-exegesis.

    Rule of Thumb: if actual answer or/and ground of hint of answer that is clear, it is non-exegesis. If answer is not clear from both, not to mean 100 percent not clear, but would become clear, as it is relative not clear, but not absolutely, then assume as it is exegesis, until otherwise.

    For the, ‘Who is the faithful and discreet slave’, you assume it is from the past as you say historical, so it used to be rightly match to those people in the bible, not match for all people, which mean future. If there is no faithful and discreet slave, then there is no organization to recognize and understand. so we will be ourselves as individual idea and other individual stuff, not as a group idea and other stuff.

    That is love which is positive that bound all things, which need to be understand that to be say there is an organization and other positive stuff for people to understand and connect.

    That is Presupposition that Charles have, then it match logically that he can see truly in the bible, which is love. Or all positive that make sense.

    What match your rule: “When the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense, lest you end up in nonsense”, I do add to the rule that make it better, ‘When the plain sense makes good sense that is constant and other sense is not better, seek no other sense, lest you end up in nonsense”. Be aware to this rule also ‘When the plain sense makes good sense that is constant and other sense is better, seek other sense, lest you end up in nonsense”. That point the whole sense which it is good; the nonsense which it is bad.

    What you have is misguide non-exegesis, which it is truly exegesis. Will I join with you and not be with JW?? No because what you have as a foundation that is negative, which other positive that is small, so it can’t be forgive by me to join you, so to resist you. But Charles can be forgive by his action and the people that was with him. He recognize that what he had was exegesis, he didn’t keep it, to do so would be exegesis which he knows, but to people that don’t know, it will be misguide non-exegesis, which Charles manipulation them, which change from sincere to non-sincere. So, as a negative that is recognize error, he reduces the negative, which say heaven as king begin and devil was fall down to earth. People that know Charles change so people forgive him. Because he was flexible from big negative to small negative.

    After all, big negative that is date-setting to lead to change everything and people know about it, it will cause problem. It is better to have no date-set, that match the bible and match to free will/emotional decision.

    What is the main negative thing that you reject from JW? I doubt it is from this article because it is small negative that connect to big negative, that is after you reject JW as , you found other negative thing to match to big negative thing. Positive to product positive, so do counterpart.

    The foundation negative of JW and you, is not same in negative, but opposite, foundation of your believe in trinity, which lead people to potential negative path from positive path. Because it represents confuse and not clear. So, it contradict your rule which you type to me: “When the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense, lest you end up in nonsense”. So, what not clear as represent continual block, as not see all answer to be understood that is clear. So, that rule you type to me is a match to you, as both meaning behind the word that is confuse and nonsense which it is not understood. The meaning both are same for two words.

    So, big negative override small positive, which you consider the foundation of JW is from 1914, which it is negative, that will lead to negative. But it is opposite which lead to positive and understanding. Which it is in the bible, which it is foundation of positive. And you, which you believe in Trinity is foundation of negative that is not in the bible.

    Rule of thumb: Which potential that you understood as a foundation, will lead to different potential of positive or negative: Those potential have relative potential that connect to foundation potential. The foundation potential of love will lead to another potential that is happy, and other positive stuff, which may or may not directly say in bible. But a feeling you can feel.

    • We will have to agree to disagree. 1914 is not even hinted at in the Bible nor are any of Russells or Rutherfords other dates. The only way to arrive at these dates is via the five screwball methods of WT interpretation (Hoekema, A. A. (1969). The four major cults: Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism. Carlisle, United Kingdom: Paternoster Press.)
      1. absurd literalism;
      2. absurd typology;
      3. “knight-jump exegesis”—jumping around the Bible with utter disregard for context to secure a preconceived idea;
      4. “rear-view method”—some historical event in the past is located, then particular Scripture texts are searched for and made to apply; the event is then termed fulfilled prophecy; and
      5. rationalism—rejecting whatever in Scripture appears contrary to reason (i.e., the Trinity, hell, the soul), resulting in a system of denials.

      That’s the Watch Tower hermeneutic in a nutshell. They have no foundation whatsoever for their dates, and claims. Dates like 1919, 1925 etc. are not even “hinted” at in the Bible. The WT takes a historic non-prophetic text, such as a parable and spin a yarn that fits their particular needs, you only have to read the modern day Revelation book to see how absurd their interruptions are. Abadon the angel of the abyss is Jesus? Crazy! The locust army of the abyss are the anointed class of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Crazy! Where do they get these interpretations? From the imaginations of men bent on serving an illusion from the pit of hell. The list of error is endless.

      You say I am negative. Actually its the Watch Tower that’s negative. It robs is members of the truth, namely Jesus the incarnate Son of God who offers eternal life not by works or through following a religion but as a free gift to all who would believe. True Christians are bound together in the love of Christ. We need no religion to tell us what is truth. This is the true universal church unfettered by denominations, one in Christ.

      The unity of Jehovah’s witnesses, the love you believe they have is conditional, artificial. Conditional on serving the Watch Tower. Step away from that arrangement and you will see no love – only hate. If you have been to the latest WT conventions; “Remain Loyal to Jehovah” you will see how the organisation demands loyalty and obedience. They say to serve the organisation is to serve Jehovah. Complete nonsense built upon error and lies without any foundation in scripture.

      Ask any born again Christian and they will express they have entered into a living, breathing relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the one true God. A relationship that transcends religion, a family wherein we are the children of God. That is the wonderful truth of scripture. Don’t let a religion blind you to that reality.

      I do continue to pray for you
      Every blessing
      Jason

  7. A well thought out brilliantly written article. You know when I first got the ‘ Truth ‘ 30 odd years ago, I was encouraged to read old publications to see how far the Org had progressed, with its teachings and thinking. That was before the Internet and the explosion of information about the Org from other sources. The rank and file are kept in the darkness, none should be on this site, but we know and hope that many J W ‘s will visit it and maybe given ‘ food for thought ‘ God Bless you Son for the work that you do! Amen.

    • Many thanks for your kind words and encouragement.

      Praise the LORD of LORD’S for those he sets free and saves through his unfathomable grace. Let us praise his mercy and incredible long-suffering towards a broken and dead world. Let his light shine through us until the day dawns and our LORD returns. May this website and others like it be used by the Holy Spirit to draw all men to the one true God, to find that place of divine freedom that comes from knowing Jesus – Amen.

      LORD Bless. Jason

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