THE SECRET COMING OF JESUS
Charles Taze Russell was born in Aleghany Pennsylvania On Feb.16 1852 As he grew up and was exposed to the church he was troubled by various church teachings like the Trinity and especially on hell because he felt they were unreasonable. He became a skeptic at age 17.
In 1870 he was exposed to the teachings of William Miller who was one of the originators of the 2nd advent movement. Miller had taught that Christ returned in1843 then 1844 . When this didnt occur E.G white received visions and understood this to be a that Christ went into the Holy of Holies in judgement (now known as the investigative judgment in the 7th day Adventists) In 1874 another 2nd day Adventist Nelson Barbour, announced Christs return invisibly in 1874(STUDIES, Vol. 7, p. 54). Russell already influenced by prophecy from them personally met with Barbour, who convinced him of Christs invisible presence returned on earth. Despite the failed prophecies, Barbour and Russell jointly published "Three worlds or plan of redemption in 1877, and in 1874 he founded Zions Watch Tower Tract Society.
"Our lord, the appointed king, is now present since Oct. 1874. According to the testimony of the prophets to those who have ears to hear." (studies in the scriptures vol.4, pg.621)
1879 "Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874.... at the beginning of the Gospel harvest." (Watchtower, Oct 1879, p. 4)
"Christ's presence and the harvest began in 1874." (STUDIES, Vol. 2, p. 239)
Lets pause here and consider that Christ said in John 4:35 "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" Matt. 9:37-10:1 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Luke 10:2- Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest "Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.
Christ recognized the harvest was when he was here physically on earth and sent them out to do ther harvest this is when it began. The Gospel harvest was proclaimed at Pentecost when 3,000 were saved.
"six thousand years of evil which ended in 1874 ."(STUDIES, Vol. 7, p. 301)
Did evil end on this date?
"The scriptures show that his second coming presence was due in 1874 .This proof shows the Lord has been present since 1874 " (W.T.pg.67, Mar.1, 1923)
The Watchtower has always confused the presence of Jesus as a spiritual one and his physical return to earth.
So sure was Russell on this fact that he calculated "Eighty-eight proofs that the Lord's Second Advent occurred in the fall of 1874 (STUDIES, Vol. 7, pp. 68-71)
It wasn't so much the bible as it was Russells facination with pyramidology "The grand gallery' measures 1874 inches long at the top 1878 inches long at a groove cut in its sides about midway, at the bottom....between bottom and top and 1881 inches. Now notice how aptly these three distinct dates (1874, 1878, 1881,) are marked by the pyramid ..."(WT 5/1881, p. 225)the 1878 date was his formal inaugaration of his kingly office (Studies in the Scriptures, vol.4, pg.621)
"The Millennium began in 1874, with the Return of Christ."( STUDIES, Vol. 7, p. 386)
The Millennium is what Jehovah Witnesses teach is paradise earth when Christ comes back, here we Russell claiming that it already occurred.
"Surely there is not the slightest room for doubt in the mind of truly consecrated child of God that the Lord Jesus is present and has been since 1874." (WT.Pg.5, Jan.1,1924)
He was so sure that they published "We can see no room for changing the figures- nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God's dates, not ours." (WT July 15, 1894 p.226)
"The autumn of 1874, anxiously expected, finally came, but the earth rolled on as ever" "they said , surely we had been in error-but where? Surely it is taught that Jesus would come again; perhaps our calculation of time is at fault." Then the prophetic arguments were carefully re- examined. Was error found? No, they stood the test of all investigation and the jubilee argument and the "1335 days" of Daniel could not possibly be prolonged beyond the fall of 74 or the spring of 1875 and these periods were both past."( Zions W.T p.3 Feb.1881)
The head and originator of the Watchtower was faced with a dilemma since he will not admit the date is wrong then what is the answer? "With the remembrance that the time arguments above referred to had been found faultless and unalterable and proved that Jesus was due here in the fall of 1874 came the thought- can it be possible that Jesus does not come in a fleshly body at his second advent."
Here Russell is challenging the very core beliefs of Christianity and the clear teaching of the Bible! No matter, they changed so many other doctrines why not the essential one that justifies someone.
He actually goes on refuting this in speaking about Acts 1:11 "this had generally been supposed to teach that Jesus would come in the flesh and be seen of men, as he was seen of the disciples." "But the angels language seemed peculiar- this same Jesus as though there had been another Jesus: Examination revealed the fact, that Jesus since his resurrection is a totally different being from the Jesus who died." (Zions W.T p.3 Feb.1881) He admits this is another Jesus which is what scripture warns us of in 2 Cor.11:4. It was the Gnostics that taught that Jesus could not take up a real human body because flesh was evil and god cannot come in the flesh. This is exactly what the J.W's teach and take this even further by saying he could not take up the same human body in his post resurrection life.
Barbour has had more influence on early J.W doctrine then most care to give him credit on. "Brother Barbour first began to preach the message, and soon started a paper, which he appropriately called the midnight cry,"...there was a general re-examination of all the arguments upon which the midnight cry was mad" conclusion..." expectation of Jesus in the flesh at the 2nd advent was a mistake.".. The midnight cry was correct, and that the bridegroom came in autumn of 1874, and appeared to the eyes of faith..."
"If bro. Miller and Barbour were his instruments, then that midnight cry based on the prophetic and other statements and evidences, was correct...we believe that the midnight cry was of God."(Zions W.T p.3 Feb.1881)
This next statement brings home the 7th day influence on Russell (note that 7th day Adventists in the beginning taught Michael the arch angel is Jesus, today they still believe Jesus is Michael, but angel Michael is not Jesus.)
"If our application of Scripture be correct, the favor has now ended and the language of the parable,"the door was shut".(ibid)
When Christ did not return for the false Adventists prophets, some had claimed that the Adventists had been right about the date, but wrong about the event. So they began a search for some other event that could fit the prophecy date. Ellen G. White wrote "I was shown in vision, and I still believe that there was a shut door in 1844". (Selected Messages, vol.1p.63)
"At the time I had the vision of the midnight Cry I had given it up in the past and thought it future, ....AFTER I HAD THE VISION and God gave me light,...The view about the Bridegroom's coming I had about the middle of February, 1845, Many of them did not believe in a shut door. I suffered much at the commencement of the meeting. Unbelief seemed to be on every hand....The Lord worked in mighty power, setting the truth home to their hearts....MOST OF THEM RECEIVED THE VISION, AND WERE SETTLED UPON THE SHUT DOOR"(Letter B 3 1847, Letter to Joseph Bates, July 13, 1847, from the Whites)
The Jehovah's Witnesses adopted her view and modified it saying later that Heaven's doors is open to only 144,000. The rest are to stay on planet earth.
Notice the name of her vision "the midnight cry" Just what Barbour printed, a concept of a shut door with Russell is hardly coincidence considering his previous affiliation with Adventism.
So theJehovah's Witnesses have a false 2nd coming, a secret one that Jesus himself warned about in Mt.24:26 "If they say to you, look he is in the desert! do not go out;or look he is in the inner rooms! do not believe it." WHY? Because he describes his coming like this "For as the lightning flashes from east to west so will the coming of the son of man be." Everyone can see lightning no matter what religion they would belong to, even if they did not belive in God. There is no secret coming to establish his kingdom on earth.
Not only do the Jehovah's Witnesses have an invisible coming of Jesus but they have an invisible resurrection for the apostles and the 144,000.'... that in 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)
In 1878 the process of setting up the kingdom began. The Lord raised the sleeping saints. (WT 6/1/1922, p. 174)
End of gospel age, the rapture of the saints. (Three Worlds p.68; Proclaimers p. 632; Divine Purpose p19.)
One of the many enlightening spiritual truths that God gave his witnesses about the members of Gods spiritual nation who had died physically. This was 1927. In that year the witnesses understood that the dead spiritual Israelites had been raised in 1918 to life in heaven with Christ Jesus. It was an invisible resurrection, of Course.(From Paradise lost to Paradise Regained p.192, 195) Which date is correct?
The Rapture of the saints, included Russell and other Bible Students. (WT Jan. 1881 (reprint p.180), Dec. 1880 (reprint p.172).
Now we have a whole group of special people that were raised to go to heaven when the bible already promises this to all believers in 2 Cor.5:8 "to be absent from the body is to be present (immediately) with the Lord." This not only contradicts Gods promise to all but they have a resurrection that is not mentioned in the Bible, since it says in 1 Thess.4:13-17 the dead will raise at the same time those who are alive and all will be caught up to Christ in the air together.
Before we look at who the Jesus is that came back after he died, we need to examine what the Watchtower did about this date of 1874 and the invisible 2nd coming.
"The indisputable facts, therefore, show that the "time of the end" began in 1799; that the Lord's second presence began in 1874." (The Watchtower, March 1, 1922) Through the 20's, 30's the date of 1874 was taught as the true date of Jesus return until 1943 where in the book "The Truth shall make you free" said ..." This moved forward the end of the 6,000 years of mans existence into the decade of the 1970s. Naturally this did away with the year 1874 C.E as the date of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the beginning of his invisible presence or parousia." So they corrected themselves on a false teaching that was held by every faithful witness for 74 years. However they still are not right. (Gods kingdom of a thousand years has approached p.209-210 1973)
This teaching has given rise to what the Watchtower teaches every J.W. today that Christ when he died no longer existed and had to be recreated like any other human being. Because when the body dies the spirit ceases to exist, there is no after life for anyone, not even Jesus !
"We deny that he raised in the flesh, and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural." (The Finished Mystery p.57 1917)
"Having given up his flesh for the life of the world, Christ could never take it again and become a man once more."(You can live in Paradise on Earth p.169 1982)
Christ's natural body not raised is also believed by occultists such as Johannes Greber who agrees with them... "The 'resurrection of the dead' has therefore not the slightest reference to the resurrection of the physical body."( Communications with the Spirit World, p. 385) "-The body of Jesus similarly to the bodies of Enoch and Elijah have been dissolved into od." (ibid p.385)
"Our Lord's human body was, however, supernaturally removed from the tomb; because had it remained there it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples, who were not yet instructed in spiritual things - for 'the spirit was not yet given.' John 7:39 We know nothing about what became of it, except that it did not decay or corrupt... Many Christians have the idea that our Lord's glorious spiritual body is the very same body that was crucified and laid away in Joseph's tomb: This is a great mistake," (Time is at Hand p. 128)
What happened to his body then? "The scriptures answer; It was disposed of by Jehovah God, dissolved into its constituent elements or atoms," (Watchtower, p.518, Oct.1, 1953) the further explain what happens in the event of death. "Adam ceased to be a breather, or soul, and went back to the lifeless dust from which he had been taken. It was the reverse of the creation process. No part of him lived on. He went completely into non existence."
So what happened to Jesus is no different than what happens to anyone else "Jesus was dead, he was unconscious, out of existence. Death did not mean a transition to another life for Jesus ; rather non existence."(Awake p.27 July, 22 1979)
This is the Jesus they have, this is the Father they have as Jehovah. He destroyed the Son. Not to worry he's got a good memory and can make him all over again.
What does resurrection mean to a Jehovah Witness?
"What will be resurrected? The body? NO. for it has disintegrated and its atoms have become part of other living things. Which in turn may have become part of other living creatures."(W.T p.346 June 1, 1959)
"Jesus became a living spirit creature as he had been before coming to earth."(Happiness-how to find it p.118, 1980)
"he was the first to be raised a spirit person."(You can live in paradise on earth p.172 1982)
"Jesus Christ was not made a human creature at his resurrection but was made a spirit, which accounts for his invisibility." (WT p.101-102 April 1, 1947) Therefore he is ANOTHER JESUS
What does resurrection mean in the Bible ?
1 Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"
1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God "the man" Christ Jesus ." He was raised in the same flesh and bone body, he is not a spirit named Michael the Arch angel. He is still in the body he took in the incarnation, he is a man according to the bible who is at the right hand of the Father.
Jn.2:19-21 "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up " "But he was speaking of the temple of his body." Not only does he say the same body will be raised up But that he will do this. How does one accomplish this fact if they are out of existence. Click here > and go to the Trinity in the resurrection
Acts 2:24-28 "Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death". What dies the body nowhere do we find a spirit being resurrected in the scriptures. Peter sums up his sermon in v.31 "he, forseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in Hades nor his flesh see corruption" Christ went as a living soul to paradise, not to annihilation. Scripture states he did not see corruption, meaning his body was not left to rot in the ground but was brought out as the firstfruits unto eternal life 1 Cor. 15:20, 23. Jesus is not raised from non existence but from the dead.
If Jesus did not rise from the grave in a physical body then what is the significance of an empty tomb?
Rev 1:18 "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."
Rev 2:8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life."
Nowhere does Jesus say he went out of existence. Like I was and now again exist!
Not believing the Resurrection
1 Cor. 15:11-15 "Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-- if in fact the dead do not rise."
Paul says those who do not believe in a physical resurrection are "Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God."
What are Jehovah's Witnesses in light of this statement?
More on the resurrection>