“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2; 1-3.
Have we seen the vision of coming glory as revealed by the Lord in these “last days” through his servant on the Watch Tower, the vision of the Kingdom of God, through which all the families of the earth shall be blessed? If so, let us appreciate it so much that we will permit nothing to dim its splendor or to divert our eyes from it. The Apostle says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of re-ward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:35-38.
We have been fully forewarned by our Lord and his divinely inspired Apostles, of the snares and delusions which would be permitted, to make manifest the degree of our appreciation of the vision;-whether or not we had received the Truth in the love of it.
Our Lord says,-” There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it — were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before.”- Matthew 24: 24,25. “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” – Revelation 3:11.
The Apostle says,-” Be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” – Ephesians 4:14. “Evil men and seducers shall wag worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” – 2 Timothy 3:13,14.
The Lord appointed one servant to “write the vision, and make it plain.” He chose one servant through whom He provided the “mark” which was to be placed “upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done.” (Ezekiel 9:1-5) – The Lord sent His Message to the Laodicean period of the Church through one servant; and He chose one servant through whom He provided His household with “their portion of meat in due season.” Those who have heard the Harvest message should recognize this fact, as it is one of the ways by which the Lord protects His Truth and His people in these “last days,” when “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13.)
Yes, Dear Reader, it does make a difference whether the term, “that servant,” means one servant, or a class of servants. “Truth, how sacred is the treasure! Teach us, Lord, its worth to know; Vain the hope, and short the pleasure, Which from other sources flow.”
“THAT FAITHFUL AND WISE STEWARD”
Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? “-Luke 12:42.
As we consider the various servants of the Lord and the Church from the time of our Lord’s first advent to the close of the Gospel Age, we find that some of them have been chosen by our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus directly, and some chosen by the Church. The matter of leaders chosen by or through the Church is covered quite thoroughly in Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. chapter 6. The servants chosen by the Church are, of course, accountable to those electing them and can be dismissed by the Church at any time. The servants chosen by the Lord are accountable to Him alone and the Church has no voice in the matter of their appointment. This is clearly shown in the selection of the Twelve Apostles. They were chosen by the heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus. In his prayer to the Father, re-corded in John 17:6-12, Jesus says, “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me.” When Judas lost his place amongst the twelve, the remaining eleven attempted to choose one to take his place, and thus complete the number; however, the Lord permitted no interference in the matter of His choice of the Apostles, and chose one Him- self to take the place of Judas, and His choice was the Apostle Paul.
John the Baptist
We find some others chosen without human voice in their selection, and amongst these is John the Baptist. He was chosen for a special service-that of preparing the way of the Lord and announcing his first advent. Jesus said of him, “This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” -Matthew 11:7-16.
The Seven Stars
We also find among those chosen by the Lord, the seven stars or angels of the seven Churches, as mentioned in Revelation 1:16, 20, and chapters two and three. Our Lord tells us that He holds these in his right hand.
The statement made in the P. B. I. Herald back in 1921, regarding the right of the Church to make “stars” equal in authority to those held in the Lord’s right hand, is manifestly incorrect, Their statement is, “Recognizing that these seven assemblies represented all the assemblies existing at that time, it is a most reasonable and Scriptural deduction then that the term `seven stars’ would represent in the complete sense all the pastors and teachers of the different Churches over the world at that time-those duly and Scripturally selected by the different Congregations under the Lord’s direction, to fill the positions, and thus represent them. . . . Let it be understood then that the messengers, elders, bishops of all the Churches throughout the whole Gospel Age areas much `stars’ in Christ’s right hand as those primarily addressed by Christ, and they certainly should not be left out in the solemn representation.”
We can ‘find no Scriptural evidence that the Church was commissioned by the Lord to make “stars” of equal authority to those held in his right hand, The Church has divine authority to choose its own servants, and to dismiss them at its pleasure; but it has no jurisdiction whatever over servants chosen by the Lord. The Church has no more authority to add to the “seven stars” than had the eleven apostles to add one to their number to take the place of Judas.
That Wise and Faithful Steward
Another servant of the Lord’s own choosing is the one mentioned in Matthew 24:46-47, and Luke 12:42-44. Luke’s account reads:-”Let our loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them, And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watch-ed, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also, for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not,” – Luke 12:35-40.
The disciples wondered if this parable was meant for them only; and so Peter asks, saying, “Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even unto all? The Lord then explained the parable for Peter and for us all, saying, “Who then is that wise and faithful steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due sea-son? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Of` a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.-Luke 12:42-44.
The Mission of “That Servant”
For what purpose was that servant appointed? Our Lord tells us in the parable mentioned, that the servants who would be faithfully watching for the return of their lord from the wedding, would be specially honored by their lord, in that he would gird himself, and make them to sit down to ‘meat, and would come forth and serve them. Our Lord here points us to His Second Advent, and the blessing He would bestow upon all those who would be faithfully waiting and watching for His return. In explaining the parable, our Lord tells us how he is going to fulfill that promise, and that it would be by His appointment of a wise and faithful servant, whom He would authorize as His representative, to serve to His faithful, waiting and watching people, their portion of meat in due season. The Lord tells us that if this special servant is found faithful in his service, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath-all the supply of food provided by the Lord for his household during the harvest time. This food would be brought from the storehouse by that servant, but his fellow – servants would help in its distribution.
Is “That Servant” One or Many?
Some claim that Matthew 24:45-47, and Luke 12: 42-44, do not apply to One servant, but to a Class of servants. Well, what difference does it make whether these Scriptures apply to one servant, or to a class of servants? It makes just the same difference that it makes whether we believe the Apostles to be a limited company, or an unlimited company.
Some of us believe that the Lord chose twelve apostles, and intended that there should be no additions to that number. Believing this, we hold to the teachings of these twelve as God’s message to us, and refuse to accept any teaching that is not in harmony with their teachings. Others claim that the number of the apostles is not limited, and that the Church can add to the number at its pleasure others of equal authority to those chosen by the Lord. This claim that the Church can make apostles equal in authority to those chosen by the Lord, we believe to be absolutely wrong, and contrary to the Scriptures. The claim that that servant is a class of servants, to be added to by the Church, would be similar to the claim that the apostles were not a limited number, chosen by the Lord, but that men can add to the number as many as they please, and that these are equal in authority with those appointed by the Lord.
Is “That Servant” an Office?
Did not Brother Russell sometimes refer to The Watch Tower or The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society as that servant, and may it not be that he recognized that servant to be an Office rather than a person, and that the Office which he created by organizing The W. T. B. & T. Society is much more important than the person who fills the Office? No, we are sure that Brother Russell never for a moment entertained such a foolish theory as that.’ That theory was invented by J. F. Rutherford and his associates.
We quote from Z. ’23, 68, as follows:- ” In connection with his presence and the bar, vest work, the office of that `faithful and wise servant’ is important, and is made so by the Lord himself. The one who fills that office is made ruler over all the Lord’s goods during the time of his incumbency in office. The office of that `faithful and wise servant’ therefore, is a part of the orderly manner in which the Lord carries on his work during his second presence. The office is of far greater importance than the individual who fills the office; for if the officer placed in the office should fail to fill it properly, the office would still exist,, and the Lord could easily appoint or assign some one else to fill that office.
This theory, held and taught by J, F. Rutherford and his associates, is a gross error. It is the assumption upon which the theory of Apostolic Succession is built;-viz., That the Lord created an Apostolic Office, and that the Office is of far greater importance than the individuals who fill it, for, though the occupants of the office die, the Office remains to be filled by others. We find no Scriptural support for that theory; and the Lord evidently intended that the Apostolic Office should not extend beyond the lifetime of those appointed by him. In other words, that there should be just “Twelve Apostles of the Lamb,” -those whose names are in the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem. (Rev. 21:14.) The only provision for others taking the place of any of these divinely appointed servants,-the twelve apostles, the seven stars and that servant, was seemingly, in the event of their unfaithfulness: and the Lord himself evidently intended to fill all such vacancies, as is evidenced in his choosing of one to take the place of Judas. Just as surely as “that servant” remained the Lord’s faithful and wise servant until his death, just so surely he left no Office to be filled by another, just as the divinely appointed Apostles left no Apostolic Office to be filled by successors after them.
This theory, that “that servant” is an Office instead of an individual, and that The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society is “that servant,” and therefore the channel of the Truth, is a delusion that has led thousands out of the Lord’s “marvelous light” into darkness. Let us hear what Brother Russell says about the kind of a channel The W. T. B. & T. Society was intended to be:- “This is a business association merely; it was chartered as a corporation by the state of Pennsylvania, and authorized to hold or dispose of property in its own name as though it were an individual. It has no creed or confession. It is merely a business convenience in disseminating the truth.”-Z. Nov., ’91.
“Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society is not a ,religious society’ in the ordinary meaning of the term; for it has no creed or Confession of Faith. It is purely a business association, whose mission is to serve in a business manner the wishes of its beneficiaries who are represented in its officers.”-Z. ’94, 330.
“Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society is only a business association (has no creed or confession). It merely represents a fund entrusted to its officers for use to the best of their judgment in the spread of the Truth-especially of those truths set forth in Millennial Dawn and Zion’s Watch Tower, by means of which many of the donors have been brought, by God’s mercy, out of darkness into his marvelous light. The funds donated are under the direction of the Editor (who is President of the Tract Society), just as they were used before the Society was organized.”- Z.95, 181.
Who IS “That Servant”?
“Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” All who have been blessed with a knowledge of the Truth-the “meat in due season,”-should have no trouble in knowing from what source they received it. We surely should recognize the fact that the “meat in due season” was provided by the “Lord of the Harvest,” and sent to us through a servant of His own choosing; and that every one who has received a knowledge of Harvest Truth, received it either directly or indirectly through the ministry of “that wise and faithful servant” -
CHARLES T. RUSSELL.
There was no other source from which the Harvest Message could be gotten; and those who refused to accept it through the channel which the Lord was pleased to use, did not get it.
A “Wise and Faithful Servant”
Some tell us that Brother Russell objected to his friends trying to point him out in the Scriptures and proclaim him as “That Servant.” Certainly he did! He was the. Lord’s “wise and faithful servant,” and it would have been very unwise for him to have sought to exalt himself, or to encourage others to do so during his life-time. He knew the Master’s words, that “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:11.) Brother Russell’s great ambition was to exalt the name of our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus, and he chose the wisest and best method to accomplish the ministry committed to him. He kept himself in the background, and his name did not appear even in his books, Studies in the Scriptures, during the greater part of his ministry. He chose the way of humility, and the Lord has exalted him. He points out what the results would have been had he permitted himself to be proclaimed to the world as “that servant” during the time of his ministry, saying, “We are all in danger of going to extremes, and all should remember the Apostle’s words, ‘Let your moderation be known unto all.’ At one place we found a spirit of antagonism had been aroused by means of immoderate statements on the part of a few. They had suggested that Brother Russell and, his writings are divinely inspired, as were the apostles of old. What a mistake! No wonder such statements were resented! When asked if such were our opinion, we promptly assured the dear friends to the contrary …. The most we have ever claimed for our own presentations, written or oral, is that they are in line with the words of the apostles, that they harmonize with them–that we keep so close to the words of the Apostles and the words of our Lord that our message may be said to be their message, except in respect to the particular words used and the arrangement of them.”- Z. ’13, 220.
Had Brother Russell permitted himself to be publicly proclaimed as “that servant,” the result would have been similar to that just mentioned, and detrimental to the work which the Lord had appointed him to do.
Another noted servant of the Lord, the one chosen to announce his first advent, like the one chosen to announce his second advent, was humble and sought no honor for himself. When the Jews sent priests and Levites to him to inquire who he was, when asked if his were Elias, or that prophet, he claimed no such distinction and honor, but merely said that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. When John the Baptist had finished his ministry, the Lord told the people of the high and honorable position which he held, saying “What went ye out for to see? A prophet ? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet, For this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” John 1:6-23; Matthew 11:7-11.
While Brother Russell, like John the Baptist, did not seek to exalt himself, but chose the modest, unostentatious way of accomplishing his mission, could we suppose that his position, as the one chosen to announce the second advent of our Lord was any less honorable or important than that-of John the Baptist? or that there is any reason why he should not be pointed out in the Scriptures as well as he? Some say they think that Brother Russell may be “that servant,” but that Matthew 24: 45-47, and Luke 12: 42-44 do not prove it. Well, if these words of our Lord do not prove it, we would like to know where they find any Scriptural proof? and if we have no proof in God’s Word that he was “that servant,” why believe it? We surely would not expect to find the name, Charles T. Russell, in the Scriptures, and neither do we find the name of John the Baptist in the Old Testament; and yet our Lord found him mentioned there, and said, ” this is he of whom it is written,” The description of a work to be done at the time of our Lord’s first advent had been recorded through the Prophet Malachi, and John the Baptist did the work there specified, and thus proved himself to be the messenger referred to by the Prophet. Likewise, an outline had been given by our Lord of a work to be done by a special servant at the time of his second advent, and Charles T. Russell accomplished that work in every detail; and yet, strange to say, some do not know whether he was “That Servant” or not, being unable to find any Scriptural proof!
While it is true that Brother Russell endeavored to keep himself in the background as much as possible, and hid behind The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society and its publications when possible, does not every one who has been blessed with a knowledge of the Truth through these publications know who edited them? He has told us in the quotations given just what kind of a Channel the Society was intended to be, and that it is merely a business associa tion, for the spread of the Truth.
While Brother Russell very properly refrained from any self-laudation, when confronted with the necessity of giving his understanding of Matthew 24:45-51, he did so in a manner which every one should be able to understand, in the following quotations;- “This lesson, from Matthew’s account, was treated in our issue of April 1, ’95. We have no further comment to make except upon one point: ‘that [special] servant.’ In our examination of this text we seem to have treated the term ‘that servant’ as though the Spirit had erred in saying ‘that servant’ when it meant servants [plural], and we applied it to all true servants of God. Since then we have been met from various quarters with objections to so general an applic ation, and the suggestion that it would be wrong to allow modesty or any other consideration, good or bad, to warp our judgment in the exposition of the inspired Word; to which proposition we agree. God evidently has some purpose m all that he has caused to be written for our admonition; and faithfulness as servants re, quires that we deliver to the household the Lord’s word, as he gives it.” Being unable to answer the objections and arguments raised, we candidly present them to the ‘fellow-servants’ and to the ‘household’ of faith as part of the Lord’s message: the subject being forced upon us by its recurrence in the International S. S. Lessons, as well as by inquiries by letter. Let each ‘fellow servant’ and each member of the ‘household of faith’ use his consecrated judgment in accepting or rejecting this, exposition or any other exposition we may ever offer, according to his ability or inability to recognize in it the voice of our great Shepherd.
“The objection urged is that the Lord’s words clearly mention and distinguish between his ‘household’ (his faithful people in general), the ‘fellow servants (plural), and ‘that servant’ specially indicated as the Lord’s agent in dispensing present truth as food to his ‘fellow servants’ and the ‘ household.’ It is admitted that in many Scriptures the consecrated are addressed individually when all of a class are meant,-as, for in-stance, ‘to him that overcometh I will grant to sit with me in my throne.’ This, according to the rules of language, means-’To each one who overcomes,’ etc. And in the texts under consideration, it is held that if neither the ‘household’ nor ‘fellow. servants’ were mentioned, it might be questionable whether the expression ‘that servant’ referred to one or to all faithful servants; but that when ‘that servant’ and ‘his fellow servants’ and the ‘household’ are all mentioned in one connection, and in contrast, it would be a perversion of the rules of language and interpretation to mix and confound that which the holy Spirit has so emphatically marked as distinct. It is further urged that to apply the term `his household’ to nominal Christian professors in general could not be correct, because the ‘meat in due season’ is intended only for the Lord’s truth-hungry; ‘watching’ people; and hence among these must be sought the ‘household’ to be fed, the ‘servants’ (plural) to do the feeding, and ‘that servant’ at whose hands our present Lord will dispense the food to ‘his fellow servants’ for the ‘household;’ and who thus is constituted a general steward, overseer and dispenser of the Lord’s ‘goods.’ “It is urged, further, that the manifest fulfillment of this, during this ‘harvest’ and time of the Lord’s presence, should assist in the correct under-standing of the promise; and that when we see things come to pass we should be able to recognize them whether we discerned their meaning in advance or not. In deed, the demonstration seems to have forced the true interpretation, rather than that an interpretation led to the fulfillment which makes the matter really the stronger, now that it is seen.”-Z. ’96, 47.
This quotation should be easily understood by everyone who has been blessed with ears to hear the Harvest message, and clearly points out the fact that “that servant” is an individual and not a class of servants. We will give another quotation on the subject from a later Watch Tower:- “‘The Faithful and the Wise Steward.’
“We would naturally enough endeavor to interpret our Lord’s words as signifying a composite steward-that is that a certain number or class of brethren together would constitute the steward of this parable. In endeavoring to make such an interpretation we are met with several difficulties, however.
” (1) To suppose such a class in the Church would be to recognize what is elsewhere denied-to recognize a clerical or authoritative class as distinct and separate from the remainder of the Church, because this steward is to dispense the meat in due season to the household, to the fellow-servants. The Church of Christ, we hold, is not composed of clergy and laity, but ‘ ye are all one in Christ Jesus, and one is your Master, even Christ.’
There would be no violation of principle, however, in supposing that the Lord at the time indicated would specially use one member of his Church as the channel or instrument through which he would send the appropriate messages, spiritual nourishment appropriate at that time, because at various times in the past the Lord has used individuals in such a manner. For in., Peter used the ‘keys’ of the Kingdom of heaven at Pentecost, and again at the home of Cornelius, and in both places he was used as a special servant in connection with the dispensing of special truths. This did not constitute Peter a lord over the other apostles or over the Church, but merely a servant.
(2) However much we might endeavor to apply this figure to the Lord’s people collectively, the fact would still remain that the various items stated would not fit to a company of individuals.
For instance, in the 42nd verse, in the common version it is rendered, that faithful steward; the revised version, the faithful steward; as though a particular one were meant and the term not used indefinitely for a number. Turning to the Greek text we find the emphasis is there in double form the faithful, the wise steward. If it were a case in which we could apply this text to Christ, there would be no difficulty, or if it were a case in which it could be applied to the whole body of Christ, there would be no difficulty, in harmonizing the one with the many members of the one body of Christ; but since the servant mentioned is to dispense food to the other members of the body, his fellowservants, the term seems to be limited to some particular individual. However, just as we said of Peter, that he was not by reason of special use made a lord over the brethren, so we say of whoever is meant in this passage, that in no sense of the word would this constitute him a lord, or a dictator or master, or imply his inspiration. All that we could say would be that it would be one who would be privileged to be a servant, and not many seem anxious to fill such a position in the true sense of the word. This servant, if found faithful, would be entrust-ed more and more with the distribution of every feature of Present Truth as represented in the parable, by his being given the dispensing of the food in due season to the household. Unfaithful-ness on the part of this appointed one would mean his degradation from this service, and presumably the servic e would go on at the – hands of another, his successor.
“The expression, ‘Verily I say unto you, He shall make him ruler over all his goods,’ should not be understood to apply to future glories and honors, but merely to a more general charge or stewardship as respects the dispensing of the Lord’s goods’ or truths due to be protected or disbursed during the remainder of this ‘harvest’ time. In other words, the steward through whom the Lord will dispense Present Truth in this ‘harvest,’ will, if found vigilant, humble, faithful, be continued in the stewardship and be used of the Lord more and more in the service of the house-hold– down to the close of the ‘harvest.”‘-Z. ’04, 125, 126.
Is There Room For Doubt?
While the Lord has made it sufficiently plain in his Word so that none of his people need be in doubt as to his intention of appointing one special servant at the time of his Second Advent, through whom he would send the “meat in due season” to his” household,” yet he has left the way wide open for any who are not satisfied with his arrangement to reject it and try to find a better one.
It was not long after Brother Russell’s departure until some were manifesting their doubt in him as “that servant,” and claiming that the term does not apply to one servant, but to a class of servants. We find our P. B. I. friends manifesting their lack of faith in the chronology which the Lord gave us through his special servant, and proceeding to try to find the mistakes made by him and to correct them. In the April 15th, 1921, issue of The Herald, and in some later numbers, these brethren tell us that through much careful and prayerful study of the Scriptures, they discovered an error of 19 years in the chronology as given in volume II Studies in the Scriptures. They tell us that their findings were unanimously approved by both the Board of Directors and the Editorial Committee. As to some of the results of this change, we quote them as follows:- °’Will not this discrepancy of 19 years, or the taking out of 19 years from the period of the kings seriously interfere with certain other features of our chronological system; such as the end of the 6,000 years of human history, the length of the Jewish and Gospel Ages, the Parallel Dispensations, the period of Israel’s Double, the Jubilee calculation, etc.? Yes, we answer, quite true. It would be impossible to shorten any of the periods prior to our Lord’s First Advent without materially disturbing the deductions that we have heretofore regarded as correct.”- Herald, 1921, page 124.
For Brother Russell’s comment on the 19 years which these brethren discovered through much careful and prayerful study of the Scriptures, we refer you to Z. 1904, pages 296- 299, or Reprints, 3436-3438. He says, “Let those who want the darkness take it. Let those of us who have had our eyes of understanding opened rejoice in the true light more and more. As we have already seen, the `harvest’ Is a time for winnowing the ‘wheat’-a sifting, a separating time, and it is for each of us to prove our characters. ‘Having done all, stand! ” – Z, ’04, 297.
What happened on the dates established by this corrected (?) chronology? So far as we have seen, nothing of importance happened. Did any thing happen on the date pointed out by Brother Russell as the end of the Times of the Gentiles? One would be quite blind
who cannot see that something really did occur in 1914, and that our chronology needed no correcting. We mention this P.B.I. chronology to show the folly of setting aside what the Lord has given us through “that servant,” and attempting to correct his supposed mistakes. “Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”- Habakkuk 2:1-3.
Would the fact that all that Brother Russell expected to occur by or before October, 1914, did not occur, prove that he was not “that servant ‘? By no means. Why not? Because the Lord was providing for his household their portion of meat in due season, and he, as that wise and faithful servant, gave to the household just what the Lord of the Harvest had given him. The Lord, through the chronology, pointed out October, 1914, as the end of the Times of the Gentiles, and what would be more reasonable than to expect that by that date, “the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men,” would be reached, just as stated in the earlier editions of volume II, Studies in the Scriptures! The Lord did not say that the Church would be glorified, and the Time of Trouble over before 1914, but that would be a very reasonable inference to be drawn from the manner in which the Lord had his Word written, and he evidently intended his servant to draw just the inference which he did draw concerning what would happen by or before 1914. That wrong inference doubtless hastened the reaping part of the Harvest work, which was possibly the Lord’s design in permitting it.
The Lord did not reveal all the’ details of the closing features of the Age even to his “wise and faithful servant,” for to have done so would have interfered with the severe test which he designed to permit, following the removal of “that servant.”
We give a few quotations from Brother Russell in regard to 1914, as follows:-”Should it eventually be demonstrated, either that some mistake was made in the expiration of the Gentile Times (October, 1914), or that we had expected more to happen at that date than was due, or that the fulfillment of our expectations, beginning there would be consummated more slowly than we expected-no matter-which-we all surely shall be glad if the fiscal year begun shall show as grand results for the enlightenment of God’s people and the honoring of God’s name as this Report witnesses for the year just closed ” – Z. ’13, 374.
“If October, 1915, should pass, and we should find ourselves still here and matters going on very much as they are at present, and the world apparently making progress in the way of settling disputes, and there were no time of trouble in sight, and the nominal Church were not yet federated, etc., we would say that evidently we have been out somewhere in our reckoning. In that event we would look over the prophecies further, to see if we could find an error. And then we would think, Have we been expecting the wrong thing at the right time? The Lord’s will might permit this.”-Z. 1914, 4, 5
“We remember that when the Lord would take up Elijah into the heavens He brought certain things to pass that would make a parallel to the taking away of the last members of Christ. We believe this is a reasonable inference. We have seen how the Lord, upon the day that Elijah was to betaken away, sent him to four successive places Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho and Jordan. At each of these different places Elijah evidently thought that the Lord would take him. And so it has been with us. During this Harvest of the Age the Lord, through His Word, has seemed to send His people to four different points of time – 1874, 1878, 1881 and 1914. At each of these points of time the watching saints who realized that the end of the Age- was upon the Church have thought that the ‘ change’ might come.- They watched for it. When they came to each of these points, the Lord said, ‘Go to another place.’ Finally we reached the last point of time that Bible chronology pointed out to us relating to the Church’s experiences. Did the Lord tell us that we would be taken there? No. What did he say? His Word and the fulfillments of prophecy seemed to point unmistakably that this date marked the end of the Gentile Times. We inferred from this that the Church’s ‘change’ would take place on or before that date. But God did not tell us that it would be so. He permitted us to draw that inference; and we believe that it has proved to be a necessary test upon God’s dear saints everywhere.”-Z. ’16,38.
Brother Russell was here long enough after 1914 to realize fully that there was no mistake in the chronology, and that October, 1914, clearly marked the end of the Times of the Gentiles. The mistake was, as he surmised it might be, in expecting more to happen on that date than was due; and that the date marked the beginning of the fulfillment of some events rather than the end of them. He says, “It still seems clear to us that the prophetic period known as the Times. of the Gentiles ended chronologically in October, 1914. The fact that the Great Day of Wrath upon the nations began there marks a good fulfillment of our expectations.”-Z.,’16, 264.
The Whole Armor of God
The Lord has provided a complete protection for his people living in the end of the Age, “in the evil day.” The Lord’s people all down through this Gospel Age have had an armor sufficient for their day; but as we come to the end of the Age, with its strong delusions, the Lord has provided his people a more complete knowledge of His Plan of the Ages, to shield them from the wiles of the devil. The Lord chose ONE. SER- VANT through whom He would send the Harvest Message as food for His household, and provided ONE TABLE from which all His people would be fed.
Brother Russell was “fervent in spirit; serving the Lord,” and used every means at his command to accomplish the work for which he was chosen. He organized The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, and through it, with the co-operation of his fellow servants, the Harvest Message encircled the earth, gathering the Lord’s saints together unto him.
Satan tried in every way to hinder the work, but his efforts were unavailing; the Harvest work went on despite all his efforts to impede it. “The Lord of the Harvest” was supervising the work, and nothing could hinder it. “That Servant was one of the “stars” being held in the Lord’s right hand, and the last one, “The angel of the church of the Laodiceans.” The Lord, in appointing One Servant through whom He would send His Harvest message, thus provided an additional armor for the protection of His people, as they might know, just as “the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib” (Isa. 1:3), not to look to other sources for the Lord’s Harvest message.
Satan, that inveterate enemy of the Lord, the Truth and the Brethren, fully realized that he could have no power over the Lord’s people so long as they were clad with the whole armor of God, and that his only way to reach them with his fiery darts, would be to induce them to discard the armor. He knew that the proper place to begin the work of breaking down the faith of the Lord’s people in the armor which he had provided for their protection, would be to kill their faith in the Scriptural fact that the Lord had appointed One Servant through whom the Harvest message would be sent. If he could persuade the Lord’s people that the term, that servant, meant a Class of servants, then he would have an opportunity to vitiate the message which the Lord had given, by bringing in error under the guise of new light, through some of his agents, posing as members of that servant class; for the Apostle says, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 11:14,15) We can easily see why Satan is opposed to the Lord’s plan of having one servant as his agent through whom he would send the Harvest message, as it left no opportunity for him or his ministers, transformed as an-gels of light, to pervert the Lord’s message; hence the absolute necessity on Satan’s part, that the one servant theory be killed. We are sorry to see that some who have been favored with a knowledge of the Truth through that one servant, are willing to assist the Adversary in breaking down this protection which the Lord had provided for his people.
Strong Delusions Foretold
“For the mystery of lawlessness already is inwardly working itself; only until the one restraining at present may happen to be out of [the] midst. And then shall be revealed ‘the lawless one,’ whom the Lord Jesus ‘will slay with the Spirit of his mouth,’ and will paralyze with the forthshining of his arrival: whose arrival is ac-cording to an inward working of Satan in all manner of mighty working and signs and wonders of falsehood, and in all manner of deceitfulness of unrighteousness to those that are perishing, because the love of the truth they welcomed not that they might be saved. And for this reason, God is sending them an inward working of error, that they may believe in the falsehood; in order that they may be judged, one and all who did not believe in the truth; on-thecontrary, delighted in the unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11 – Rotherham.
The Apostle tells us that in order to make manifest the sincerity and depth of our love of the Truth God would permit some severe tests to come to us in the way of an energy of delusion, as the Diaglott expresses it, or an inward working of error, as Rotherham puts it in the quotation given. Our Lord said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”-John 8:31,32. The Lord through his Word has pointed out the one servant through whom he would send the meat in due season for his household in this Harvest time, and those who have recognized this truth and continued in it, have escaped a delusion which has blinded thousands who were once enlightened.
Hidden Things Revealed
“Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” – 1 Corinthians 4:5
We have a striking illustration before us in the I.B.S.A. of the disastrous effect of the theory that “that servant” is a class of servants. At the time of Brother Russell’s death, nearly all of those who had come to a knowledge of Present Truth believed, or professed to believe, that he was “that servant.” When J. F. Rutherford and his associates were placed in control of the W.T.B.&T. Society, they started out with loud professions of faith in Brother Russell as “that servant.” We quote them as follows:– “The Lord gave the Harvest Message to the Laodicean Church, the faithful ones of whom compose the `feet members’ of Christ; and he gave it through his specially chosen servant, ac: cording to his promise. (Matthew 24:45-47.) All the ‘feet’ members now engaged in proclaiming this precious message received their enlightenment by partaking of the ‘food’ which the Lord sent through his chosen servant. The Watch Tower unhesitatingly proclaims Brother Russell as that wise and faithful servant.’ He delivered the message faithfully, finished his course and has now entered into his reward. Through him the Lord gave the Church the message that is so essential to each one who in this harvest time would win the glorious prize.
“We cannot too strongly urge upon the Pit-grim brethren, therefore, that they emphasize to the various classes the necessity of adhering strictly to the message which the Lord gave through this chosen channel. Any departure from the message at’ this time must necessarily be displeasing to the Lord, and work detriment to those turning aside to some other message or scheme.”-Z. ’17, 68; Reprints 6049.
However sincere J. F. Rutherford and his associates may have been in making this statement of their belief in Brother Russell as “that servant,” and of their intention of holding to the message given through him, Satan, that enemy of truth and righteousness, had other plans, and succeeded in having his plans adopted. It would not do to come out, right after Brother Russell’s death, and deny that he was “that servant,” as not many of those, who had received the Truth through Brother Russell’s ministry would have accepted that. The matter had to be worked up to gradually, and the attention of the friends diverted from Brother Russell and fixed upon his claimed successor. (See FS6.)
In 1917 The Finished Mystery was published, and in it the foundation was laid for a great delusion and fraud upon the Lord’s people, by the claim that, : “though Pastor Russell has passed beyond the veil, he is still managing every feature of the Harvest work” through “the corporate body – The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society.” (G144.) This false claim served the Adversary by binding to the Society many of those who believed Brother Russell to be “that servant” until it would be deemed safe to cast him aside. In 1921, The Harp of God was published. This book was hailed by some of those who had seemed to be very loyal to Brother Russell, as a wonderful book, presenting in one small volume the knowledge of the plan of God which required six volumes written by Brother Russell.
Thus the confidence and faith of the Bible Students was gradually being diverted from the servant appointed by the Lord, and centered upon servants elected by men. Finally the time came when it was considered safe to come out boldly and say that “that servant” is not an individual, but a class of servants. Satan had succeeded in his scheme, and the protection which the Lord had provided against the perversion of His Truth was broken down, so far as the adherents of the Society were concerned. (The P.B.I. had done the same for their members some years earlier.)
What a flood of error the breaking down of this one servant barrier admitted! We will mention a few of the many instances in which :.Brother Russell’s interpretations have been perverted or set aside by J. F. Rutherford and his associates: The parable of The Pounds, The Talents, The Wise and Foolish Virgins, The Sheep and the Goats. Also The Wise Men from the East; The Robe of Righteousness; The Birth of a Nation; The Holy Spirit Poured out upon All Flesh; Character-Development; The Great Pyramid; The Time of the End; The Days of Daniel; The Ransom; Nebuchadnezzar’s Image. These are a few of the many radical departures from the teachings which these same leaders, in 1917, claimed to be so essential that “‘any departure from the message at this time must necessarily be displeasing to the Lord, and work detriment to those turning aside to some other message or scheme.”
There have been many other departures from the Harvest Message; among them, that foolish teaching that, during the Millennial Age, the earth will be populated with the children of the Jehonadabs, and that the dead will not be resurrected until after the thousand years are end-ed. How much more reasonable is the Scriptural teaching of the Millennial Judgment Day, in which all that are in the graves shall hear the Lord’s voice and come forth to trial for life and restitution blessings, as recorded in God’s Word, and taught by Brother Russell!
How strange that those who, in 1917, warned us of the disaster which would follow any departure from the message which the Lord had given through Brother Russell, in later years claim that those of us who have heeded their warning, and refuse to accept their perversions of what he taught, belong to the Devils organization! Have they adopted the Papal teaching that there is no salvation outside their organization? Has the merit of the precious blood of our Lord Jesus who gave himself a Ransom for all, no saving power unless it bears the stamp of approval of the officers of this business association? What right have those who thus deny Jehovah’s plan of redemption, by teaching that faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice is not sufficient, but must be supplemented by faith in them and their organization, to proclaim themselves to be “Jehovah’s Witnesses”? Jehovah says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Deuteronomy 5:11.) Truly, “If the light that is in thee be [come] darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23.) The Prophet gives us Jehovah’s message to all those who believe His Word, saying ‘,’Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, ‘and they shall be ashamed,” – Isaiah 66:5.
The Day of Reckoning
“It is the day of reckoning with the Church, and ‘the lord hath a controversy with his people.’ And this controversy, this reckoning, is not merely with the Church-nominal in its great sectarian branches; but in a special sense it is with those who have escaped from the bondage of error and sectarianism, and who, because faithful to their consciences and the truths brought to their attention, have been served by the Master with ‘present truth’ as ‘meat in due season’ (Luke 12:37), and who have been permitted to enter into some of the ‘deep things’ of God’s “The world has not yet come into its judgment; its reckoning is yet future; but ours is now upon us. We, to whom the testimony of Divine Truth has been borne, before whose mental vision the whole Plan of God with all its specifications has been spread out and carefully explained, now stand on trial, yea, under the final tests of that trial which is either to prove or disprove our worthiness to enter into the promised reward of the faithful. Many, as predicted (Psalm 91:7), are proving unworthy, and some still stand.
“And among those whom we fellowship and bid God-speed as faithful brethren in Christ, it is our duty to judge as to whether they are still faithful when the magnet of Truth makes their judgment so manifest in this day of the Lord; for it is written (2 John 10, 11), `If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God-speed; for he that biddeth him God-speed is par-taker of his evil deeds.’
“Here is a responsibility with reference to our endorsement of another which we cannot ignore and still be faithful; and except we judge of one’s course by his fidelity or infidelity to the Truth, we shall be endorsing error quite as often as Truth. It is our privilege to know the Truth and to hold it firmly and to be faithful to it to the end, and if we so abide and walk in the light we will quickly know when one has turned away from the light into darkness, and will be able to render wholesome counsel and warnings to such, and to help those who still retain enough of the spirit of meekness to accept the proffered assistance.
“But, if such a one still pursue the path of darkness and call it light, thus’ deceiving himself and others, we cannot further endorse him and be guiltless. To do so is to add our influence in some measure, at least, to the error and in opposition to the Truth, and thus to become partaker of his evil deeds.”-Z. ’92, 35-37; ’11, 120-123.
R. H. BRICKER, Pittsburgh, Pa.