Jesus said: “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew 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
Paul said: “Grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:29, 30
Are You ESTABLISHED in the TRUTH?
“To be established in the truth signifies that we have carefully studied and thoroughly proved it by “the law and the testimony” (Isa. 8:20), and that as a consequence we are convinced of its verity, so that our faith is steadfast and immovable: we know whom we have believed; we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good; we have partaken of the sweets of fellowship with him; we have partaken of his spirit of meekness, faith and godliness to such an extent as to be led into a joyful realization of the fullness of his grace as manifested in the wonderful divine plan of the ages; and we have been permitted to see, not only the various features of that plan, but also the necessity and reasonableness of all its various measures in order to the full accomplishment of its glorious outcome in the fullness of the appointed times. This is what it is to be “established in the present truth.” It is indeed a most blessed condition, bringing with it such peace and joy as the world can neither give nor take away.” (R3089)
The Apostle Paul said that apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers were provided by the Lord, “for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth 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” (Eph. 4:11-14.) He says to Timothy, “But evil men and seducers shall wax 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
We are admonished to be “steadfast, immoveable”; to be “established in the faith”; and told that “we are made partakers with Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” Any teaching that is so changeable that its followers cannot be established in it, is manifestly wrong. We read in James 1:16, 17, “Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadows of turning.”
We call attention to the many changes made by those who have been in control of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society since the passing of Brother Russell, and ask, how can they harmonize their many “delusive” changes with the words of the Apostle quoted above?
What is the result to those who have become so completely deluded as to “believe a lie”? Brother Russell says of such, “They become irreconcilable to the Truth, so that neither Scripture, nor reason, nor the example of the faithful can restore them.” What a sad condition for “those who were once enlightened.”
Brother Russell fully realized that his earnest warning would avail nothing to many of the deluded ones, but to those whose love for the message which the Lord has sent us through his faithful ministry has not been entirely quenched, may his words of warning be indeed “a savor of life unto life.”
We call your attention to the following article by Brother Russell on the subject:
“For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be condemned [as unfit for the honors of the high calling] who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thess. 2:11, 12.
A DELUSION is an error which, when viewed from certain standpoints of observation, has the appearance of truth. A delusion is more or less dangerous according to the importance of the truth which it misrepresents, beclouds or falsifies; and, if followed, it leads accordingly to more or less disastrous consequences. If a merchant be deluded and misled by an apparent boom in his line of industry, the result to him may be financial disaster. If a man or woman be deluded by false ideas of life or by false appearances of character when choosing a partner for life, the result may be long years of domestic misery. And, likewise, eternal interests may be, and are, continually affected by the delusions of error on religious subjects.
When a man is deluded, he verily thinks he is right. He claims to be honest in his convictions, and he is so. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof [where the subject of delusion is of vital interest] are the ways of death.” (Prov. 16:25.) The world today is full of delusions, and of deluded people who verily think they are right, and who expect in due time to realize their delusive hopes. There are political delusions, financial delusions and religious delusions of every shade and hue; and thousands and millions of people are following them, and devoting all their time and energy to them, only to realize in the end a whirlwind of confusion, disaster and the utter wreck of all their hopes.
The questions then arise, who can escape these delusions so common among men? The fact is that no member of the fallen race is, of himself, proof against them. We are all, in consequence of the fall, both physically and mentally impaired; our experience is brief and varied, and our knowledge is necessarily very limited.
Though we see that financial delusions are continually misleading men and blighting their hopes of temporal advantage; and though we see that political delusions are forming various factions among men and leading them to strive for the realization of numerous delusive hopes, which, in the end, will bring only anarchy and a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation; yet those which chiefly concern the children of God are the religious delusions, or those capable of affecting their eternal interests. The saints have little to fear from financial delusions or disasters, since they are generally the poor of this world who have little to lose, but whose bread and water are sure (Isa. 33:16), and whose treasures are not laid up here, but in heaven. Nor are they specially concerned with the political delusions which we are told shall ere long lead to the great political disaster, which is even now imminent. These are important to the world, whose only concern is their temporal interests. But the questions with us are, how shall we escape the religious delusions so prevalent everywhere? And what proof have we that we are not now under such hallucinations?
These are important questions which no child of God can afford lightly to set aside. But note the words of the Apostle above quoted, which seem to imply that God is desirous that some should be snared, and to the very intent that they might be condemned–”God will send [permit to come upon] them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be condemned.”
Who are these whom God thus desires to be snared and condemned? Paul answers, they are those who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. They are not those who never heard the truth, but those who, having once heard and understood it, turned from it, rejected it and had pleasure in unrighteousness–not necessarily in gross unrighteousness, such as crime, but in some measure of unrighteousness; often a desire for a little more liberty of self-will instead of close conformity to the divine will, and consequently a preference for the error which would grant such liberty and silence the promptings of conscience and the voice of truth. Such prefer the error to the truth. Those who receive not the truth in the love of it are not worthy of it, and they, therefore, must go away from it into the outer darkness that envelops the world. To these error comes in its most deceitful forms, and they quickly fall a prey to the delusion.
With the Psalmist, therefore, we may well inquire, “Who,” then “shall be able to stand?”–”Who shall ascend into the hill [kingdom] of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?” Now mark the answer: “He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psa. 24:3-5.) Here is the class among whom the delusions of error can make no headway. These have a standpoint of observation from which every error appears in its true colors, and every truth in its proper light.
Mark the peculiar features of this class: They have “clean hands:” Their work for the Lord may be very imperfect; they may tell the story of his love and grace in a very halting, awkward manner; they may minister to the temporal or spiritual necessities of the saints, or others, from a very frugal and plain store of their own; but their work will be clean; their story will be free from self-emulation and human glorying, and their works will be free from both ostentation and parade. What they do will be done with simplicity and meekness, as unto the Lord, and not for the praise of men.
They have “pure hearts:” Under divine inspection, their motives are seen to be pure. Their whole purpose and endeavor is to glorify God and to bless their fellow-men, especially the household of faith. They have not lifted up their soul unto vanity: They have no vain worldly ambitions, either secretly or openly cherished and ministered to behind the outward profession of entire consecration to God–no ambition to be great, or good, or wise in the eyes of men, nor to grasp the fleeting earthly treasures once consecrated to God. Nor have they “sworn deceitfully:” They have not made a covenant with God of entire consecration to his service, with a secret determination to keep back part of the price: nor have they since making the covenant repudiated its obligations.
The whole course of this class is one of sincerity and truth. Their character is that of meekness and faith; they love righteousness and desire to be molded and fashioned after the principles of righteousness; and they correspondingly hate wickedness and every evil way. With a realization of their own short-comings from the standard of perfection, they put no confidence in the flesh, but humbly and implicitly submit their will and judgment to the will and plan of God. So they have no schemes or plans of their own, but are fully devoted to the accomplishment of God’s plan, in God’s own way and time, having full faith in his sure word of prophecy and promise.
Those who have such a spirit come reverently to the Word of God to learn God’s will and way, and with a desire to walk accordingly; and here they receive the divinely-provided armor of God which will protect all who carefully put it on from all the fiery darts of the enemy. Without this complete armor, no child of God is safe in this evil day. “Wherefore,” says the Apostle, “take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”–Eph. 6:13.
The evil day here referred to is this Day of the Lord, in which we are now living, wherein every man’s work shall be tried, so as by fire. These are the “perilous times” of which the Apostle forewarned the Church–times peculiarly perilous to Christian faith, because of the many subtle and delusive forms of error now springing up to intercept the progress of the truth. But God’s provision for his saints is equal to the emergency of the perilous hour. Never before this “evil day” was it possible for the saints to put on the whole armor of God; and never before was it needed. For some years past the Lord has been handing us this armor, piece by piece, and has been telling us to put it on and wear it that we might become accustomed to it and feel at ease and at home in it, because the time is shortly coming when it will be impossible to stand without it.
Some–a few–have been heeding the counsel. Carefully they have buckled on every part of the armor as fast as they received it, and in consequence, today they stand completely clothed with the truth. Their loins are girt about with it; their feet are shod with it; and it covers their head (their intellectual faculties) as a helmet of salvation (salvation from the snares and delusions of error). Then they have on the breastplate of righteousness–a righteous character, which the truth has developed in them; and in their hands they bear the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, which they are now able to handle with ease and vigor in defense of the doctrines of Christ; while their ample shield of faith is an able defense against all the fiery darts of the enemy, so that the flying arrows do not even jar the armor or for a moment stun the inner man.
Praise God for such an armor! Brethren, have you put it on? Do not rest satisfied with the idea that you can get along as well as your fathers did with only a part of it. The time is coming, yea, and now is, when you must have it complete, or you will surely fall. The portions of the armor presented to the saints of the past were sufficient for their day and trial; but a greater trial of faith in this “evil day” necessitates a more complete defense.
Do not say to the Lord, “Well, I have the breastplate and the shield; no, thank you, I think I shall not need the helmet;” or, “I think I can get along without the sword.” I tell you, you will need them all; make haste and put them on without delay. Some of you should have had them on long ago, and should be able to help others don them now. Many are already falling, and sadly many are feeling their lack of the helmet. Some with mere curiosity-interest have spent much valuable time in looking at the various parts of the armor as presented to them for the past few years, instead of earnestly buckling them on and proving them: and they have become so used to merely looking at the beautiful pieces of the armor that they expect the process of bringing forward new pieces to continue forever. Let such wake up to the fact that the armor is already complete, and that no more can be added to it, because anything more would be a superfluity. The Lord has graciously shown us its entire outline, as well as the manner in which the various parts of it work together. Look at your hand: it has four fingers and a thumb. You do not say, well, perhaps another thumb or finger will appear by and by. You know there will be no such thing. That hand is complete and another member added to it would be superfluous.
Just so those who have come to view the full completeness of God’s plan, as now unfolded to us, know that nothing more could be added to it. It is gloriously complete and worthy indeed of its great Author. But, while the outlining, the general harmony and the working together of the various parts are all clear to us now, we yet have room for profound thought and study of it, and probably will still have even after we are glorified. Some make a great mistake in continually putting on and taking off various proffered armors. There is but one armor that will be of any use or protection to us, and that is that which is stamped with the scarlet stamp of the precious blood of Christ. Every piece of this divine armor is so stamped, and it all fits together. If you think to change your helmet of salvation for some other helmet, you will very soon want another breastplate to match it. And you will want another sword; for this sword will not match with any other helmet. And this shield of faith will not match with any other armor. Do not allow your head to grow too big for the helmet which the Lord has provided, and then go around hunting a new helmet to fit your swelled head and wrong ideas. If the helmet supplied in God’s Word will not fit you, do not fancy the increase is real wisdom, and try to stretch the old one or to get a new helmet; but freely apply the liniment of humility and reduce it till the helmet does fit.
Put on the whole armor of God. And make sure that you accept no spurious brand. Every piece of the genuine is stamped with a cross and the words–to be worn only by the redeemed. Put on piece by piece, quickly; buckle it on securely; and, having done all, STAND. The position thus suggested implies an attack: the attack will surely come, and indeed has already come to many. Are you ready now to do good service as a valiant soldier of the cross of Christ? Stand! Do not run away; stand your ground and battle for the truth.
As we have already observed, it is as truly a part of God’s purpose to let some fall in this evil day, as it is to enable others to stand. He therefore permits the strong delusion to take possession of all who have pleasure in unrighteousness, and who therefore do not believe the truth. Such are unworthy of the truth, and sooner or later every such one must fall. All such are condemned as unworthy of membership in Christ, the vine; and as the time for the exaltation of the Church draws nearer and nearer, the testing may be expected to increase until all the unworthy ones are weeded out. “He will gather out of his Kingdom all things that offend [those who put off the wedding garment of Christ's imputed righteousness, etc.], and them which do iniquity [those who practice sin, who are not fully in sympathy with the principles and ways of righteousness as laid down in the Lord's Word].” And “then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.”
If, then, we would escape the delusions of this evil day, let us see to it that we are in deed and in truth lovers of righteousness; let us receive the truth in meekness, hold it with humility and thankfulness, and serve it with energy and zeal. (R2274)
Brother Russell was a faithful “watchman,” and surely “delivered his soul.” When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezek. 3:17-21)
The Apostle says: God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” The object sought in permitting or sending this “energy of delusion,” (Diaglott) is to make manifest whether or not we have received THE TRUTH in the love of it, and we may be sure that the Lord chose the best means possible for the accomplishing of that purpose.
Let us note some lines along which this “energy of delusion” is working. We note first:
The DELUSION that “That Servant” is A CLASS of servants.
The DELUSION that Matthew 24:45-47, and Luke 12:42-44 apply to a class of servants and not to one individual servant, is a delusion that has opened the way for a flood of error, and has led many of “those who were once enlightened” into darkness. The Lord has clearly pointed out in these Scriptures that he would choose and use one servant as His channel through which He would provide the “meat in due season” for His household, and that He would make him “ruler over ALL His goods – the Truths due in the harvest time. The Lord has thus provided a safeguard for His people, assuring them that through this One Servant – the One Channel – he would provide His household with “their portion” of “meat in due season,” so that they need not roam around seeking another portion from other sources. This fact is also shown us in God’s dealings with Elijah, who is a type of the Church, in that when he fled Jezebel, he was supplicated with sufficient food to sustain him all through his forty day journey to Horeb, the Mount of God, (See 1 Kings 19:5-8; R5629:2:1) Those who value Brother Russell’s explanation of the Scriptures will find his later expression on the matter of “That Servant” in Reprints 1946; 2693; 3355; 4474 and D613.
Some may argue, does not Brother Russell imply in R4473-4478 that The Watch Tower is That Servant? That “The Watch Tower is the only channel through which the voice of the Chief Shepherd is heard?” He did; but Brother Russell surely expected that his readers would fully understand that He was editor of The Watch Tower, and that it was only an instrument which he, as That Servant, sent the Harvest Message to the Lord’s people. He surely expected his readers to have intelligence enough to know that The Watch Tower never wrote a word of what appeared in its columns, but that it was merely the medium through which he, as editor, sent to the Lord’s people, the message which the Lord gave to him.
Does not every one know that The Watch Tower can express no choice as to what message it carries, whether truth or error, that being in the hands of its editor? It carried a very different message under the editorship of Brother Russell than it did under the management of J.F. Rutherford and his associates and successors.
Under the power of this “energy of delusions,” many of those who were once enlightened have turned away their ears from the Truth, the beautiful harmonious “Divine Plan of the Ages,” as set forth in the six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures, “the Keys to the Scriptures”, and circulated through the inanimate channel – The Watch Tower and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and have turned to fables, even to the disregard of the inspired Word of God. Jesus said, “Wonder not at this; because an hour comes in which all those in the tombs will hear his voice and will come forth; those having done good things to a resurrection of Life; and those having done evil things, to a resurrection of Judgment.” (John 5:28, 29 – Diaglott.) Paul said, “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15.) The prophet Ezekiel tells us that even the people of Sodom, whom God slew because of their wickedness, will be awakened from the dead, (Ezek. 16:44-63) However, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have denied this testimony of God’s Word, claiming that the wicked will never be awakened from the tomb. This and many other “fables” have been circulated through the same inanimate Watch Tower “Channel” through which God’s Truth was circulated during Brother Russell’s ministry. We urge all those who have known the Truth to see that nothing be permitted to crowd it out.
How strange that so many, seemingly intelligent people, have concluded that their only safe course is to follow the lead of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and accept what it sends them through The Watch Tower, no matter how contrary it is to that which the Lord sent them through Brother Russell! It is high time for “those who were once enlightened” to arouse themselves from the delusion and get back to the Truth as they learned it through the “Channel” which the Lord chose and used in sending us the Harvest Message – Brother Charles Taze Russell, That Servant. Remember that the effect of the delusion is to cause its victims to “believe a lie.” This delusion is sent for the purpose, as the Apostle says, of distinguishing those who receive the Truth in the love of it, from those who have not thus received it. Some seemingly love the Society which Brother Russell organized and used in circulating the Lord’s message, more than they love the message. We are glad to know that there are many Jehovah’s Witnesses who are being enlightened to the Truth and have made a full consecration to the Lord and his service.
The “Revived Work” DELUSION.
Some claim that the Harvest Work is being revived, and that thousands will yet be brought into the Church. Another claim is that the great work in which Brother Russell expected the Smiting of Jordan to be, is still before us.
Let us consider the arrangements made by “The Lord of the Harvest” for accomplishing the Harvest work: He chose a “wise and faithful steward” to be His earthly representative, and made him “ruler over all his goods” – the truths due in the Harvest time. The Lord of the Harvest sent us His harvest message through this Steward, and through him arranged a suitable means for the circulation of the Message to the Lord’s people throughout the world through the Watch Tower and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, which had been used so wonderfully in the circulation of the Lord’s Message to pass into the hands of those who have used them to circulate their perversion of the Lord’s harvest message, and who brand those who continue to hold to the message as the Lord gave it through Brother Russell, as the Evil Slave Class, belonging to the devil’s organization.
Would it not seem reasonable to conclude that when the Lord of the harvest permitted this condition to come about, that the harvest work was about finished that it was not deemed necessary by the Lord of the harvest to maintain the arrangement He had made for the accomplishing of the harvest work?
Those who think that the Lord, after letting the arrangement which had been made for accomplishing the harvest work collapse before that work was done, and that now he must “revive” the harvest work, and make another arrangement for carrying on the work must have a very poor opinion of the ability of The Lord of the harvest to conduct His work in an efficient manner.
Are we to sit idly by? Is there nothing that we can do now? Yes, of course! There is plenty to do. None of the Lord’s consecrated will “be borne to paradise, on flowery beds of ease.” We must continue to “fight the good fight of faith,” and he who maintains his faith in God and His Truth in these times when, as foretold, “a thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand,” is doing something – doing what the Lord instructed him to do, “hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” We not only have the responsibility of keeping ourselves in the love of God, but we are to do all we can to encourage others to maintain their faith in the Truth and thus come off conquerors in the good fight of faith.
We are glad also, as we have opportunity, to
“Tell the whole world these blessed tidings;
Speak of the time of rest that nears;
Tell the oppressed of every nation;
Jubilee lasts a thousand years.”
However, not many of the world will have ears to hear God’s message now, as it requires the Time of Trouble to prepare the ground for the millennial seed-sowing.
The “Closed Door” DELUSION
Some of the Brethren seem to think that the crowns are all permanently placed, and that no crown could be lost or gained. This, we think, is erroneous, as it is still necessary that we heed the warning of Rev. 3:11, to “hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” As long as there is the possibility that a crown may be lost, the “door” is not shut, as there will be the predestinated number in the little flock, not one member missing. Brother Russell says:
“When all the faithful “wise virgins” have been proved so, and have entered in to the joys of the Lord, the “door” of opportunity to become of that class will close; and no more can enter it. When all the wise have entered in, the number predestinated will be complete; and then the Master will rise up and shut the door.” (C221)
Brother Russell said: “Inadvertently we have used this expression of closing the door in two ways. At times we have used it in respect to the work that is to be done until the close of the age, until the opportunity for service shall shut down as represented in the parable, and no more laborers will be admitted. Apparently no others were admitted during the twelfth hour, but we do not know when that door will close. . . .
“Then as to the other door, in the parable of the “wise and foolish virgins,” the wise virgins followed Him and then went in with Him and the door was closed; then followed the foolish virgins and knocked at the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, open unto us,” but the door was shut. That is the door through which the Bride-class will enter, and when it is shut, it will never open again. To my understanding that door and the door to service should be kept separate. That door the King will close when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have finished his sacrifice, and gone beyond the vail, the complete number will be gathered and enter into glory. When that will be I do not know. Perhaps not for a year or maybe more, after the door to service has closed. There will be a time of testing to prove those who have already entered the door of service.” (Q74)
Latter Day Scoffers – Delusional
The apostle tells us there will come those in the last days scoffers who will grow weary and begin to question the times and seasons, asking “Where is the promise of his presence? For since the fathers did fall asleep, all things so remain from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Tim. 3:3, 4 YLT) Some of the brethren have rejected the parousia of the Lord altogether, claiming that the Lord has not returned invisibly, but that his return is still future and is physical. Through scriptural manipulation they show their proof text.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim that the Lord’s presence began in 1914, actually deny the presence, for they claim:
”Not only are we not to look for Christ to be visible to human eyes when he comes again but we should not even think of his leaving heaven and coming within the confines of earth’s atmosphere for him to be present. He returns or “visits” the earth as did Jehovah in times past, by turning his attention to things of earth. Thus Jehovah did not literally come down or “visit” (King James Version) the Israelites while they were in Egypt or at the time of the birth of John the Baptist; rather, he “turned his attention” to them. Likewise, when he began to call out a people from the nations for his name he did not literally “visit” but “turned his attention to the nations.” (Ex. 4:31; Luke 1:68; Acts 15:14, NW) See also An American Translation and Moffatt.” The Watchtower 02/15/55 pp. 102-103
Later they would write:
“Then should you think of Jesus as invisibly present in the earth’s atmosphere? When the Bible speaks of Jesus’ return, it does not at all follow that for him to be present he has to leave his abode in the heavens.” The Watchtower 08/15/69, p. 485
The Dawn, despite their advertising “A Herald of Christ’s Presence” seemed to have taken a page from The Watchtower, for they too reject the idea that the Lord has physically returned to the earth’s atmosphere.
”After our Lord’s resurrection he said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18) Sometimes we fail to appreciate fully our Lord’s great power and glory. We think that our Lord does not necessarily need to be here, or there, or elsewhere, to accomplish his purposes. Of our Heavenly Father it is written, “He uttered his voice, the earth melted.” (Psa. 46:6) Thus we see that the great God of the universe does not need to leave his heavenly throne and come down here to earth to exercise his overruling providences in the world. Nor does our Lord Jesus need literally to change his location in any way whatsoever to accomplish his purposes in harmony with the Heavenly Father’s plan.” DAWN, August 1976, p. 23:1
After giving some scriptural examples of Jesus power (e.g. Matthew 8:5-13; Mark 7:24-30) the article goes on to say:
”These incidents give us a small inkling of Jesus mighty power, immeasurably multiplied since his resurrection, and they clearly illustrate an important principle with relation to our Lord’s second presence. He does not necessarily need to alter his position in the slightest degree in order to accomplish any of the various aspects of God’s great plan for man’s ultimate and everlasting restitution. As can the Heavenly Father, so also can Jesus freely exercise his great power at any time, and from any location.” page 23, par. 4
By making such claims, they deny the apostle words found in Acts 3:21 “Whom the heavens must retain until the times of restitution of all things.” The claim that the Lord does not need to physically return to accomplish his will, that simply turns his attention to the affairs on earth is unscriptural. The Lord himself stated “If I go, I will come again.” (John 14:3) Where is he before he returns? Heaven of course, where shall he return too? The earth. Physically or spiritually? Spiritually of course! By denying Acts 3:21, these brethren are clearly teaching that the Lord has not return and that the heavens still retain him, contrary to their claim in advertising “A Herald of Christ’s Presence.”
These same brethren published a little booklet “oh the blessedness”, a number of years ago, which essentially did away with the chronological and prophetic views held by the Pastor in Volumes 2, 3 and 4 of Studies in the Scriptures. Cutting and pasting the words of the Pastor out of context, this booklet caused such a stir that it polarized the Bible Students movement. It would be better named “oh the wretchedness”.
They deny that the last trump of 1 Cor. 15:52 has sounded, again, if the trump has not sounded, then the dead in Christ are still dead and asleep. This is another denial of the Lord’s return, for if the trump has not sounded, and the dead in Christ not risen, then the Lord has not returned, because the Lord returns with the sounding of a trumpet. (1 Thess. 4:16)
One wonders, if these brethren are so out of harmony with the prophetic and chronological writings of “That Servant”, why they even bother to publish his writings?
Are we among the DELUDED Ones?
This is a question to which each of us should give serious attention. Surely none of us want to be found among that unfortunate class, as that would be a great calamity – the losing of the crown of life promised to the faithful overcomers. Are those who have accepted the wonderful Plan of the Ages as set forth in the six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures and in the Harvest Message during Brother Russell’s ministry “deluded”? Surely not! No such glorious message of God’s grace and mercy for all the families of the earth has ever been presented to mankind as that sent us by our present Lord through the servant of His choosing: Brother Charles Taze Russell.
Following Brother Russell’s death, the members of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society elected a man to take the place of the one appointed by the Lord of the harvest through whom to send His Harvest Message, and many views were presented through the Watch Tower that were very different from those presented during Brother Russell’s ministry. However, many of those who had been so richly blessed by the message presented through The Watch Tower during the ministry of Brother Russell, felt that their only safe course was to hold to The Watch Tower and to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, believing that the Lord would continue to use it as he had done during Brother Russell’s ministry. They were encouraged in this view by the representatives of the Society, who assured them that the Lord would not change His Channel; and so many of them were ready to accept as God’s message, whatever these men-elected leaders sent them through The Watch Tower. Were these dear ones who had been so greatly blest through The Watch Tower while edited by Brother Russell, right in their conclusion that the Lord would continue to use it for the sending forth of His Message, or were they being deluded?
Later, other organizations were organized to carry on the work of Pastor Russell independent of the Watch Tower Society. These all fell short of their ministry, eventually falling into the same delusions of grandeur as that of the Watch Tower leaders.
We do not question the sincerity of these brethren, as doubtless they truly believe they are right. However, let us keep in mind the statement of the apostle, that the effect of the “strong delusion” upon its victims is to cause them “to believe a lie.” Believing a lie does not make it true; it is a lie just the same no matter how sincerely it may be believed.
Brother Russell says, as previously quoted: “When a man is deluded, he verily thinks he is right. He claims to be honest in his convictions, and he is so. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof [where the subject of delusion is of vital interest] are the ways of death.” (Prov. 16:25.) The world today is full of delusions, and of deluded people who verily think they are right, and who expect in due time to realize their delusive hopes. There are political delusions, financial delusions and religious delusions of every shade and hue; and thousands and millions of people are following them, and devoting all their time and energy to them, only to realize in the end a whirlwind of confusion, disaster and the utter wreck of all their hopes.”
“Every system of error doubtless has as many conscientiously deluded votaries as it has hypocrites, or more. Conscientiousness is moral honesty, and it is not dependent upon knowledge. The heathen, misinformed, conscientiously worship and sacrifice to idols; Saul, misinformed, conscientiously persecuted the saints.” (B280)
We are quite sure that none of our Jehovah’s Witness friends would knowingly and intentionally deny the ransom, and yet that is just what under the power of this “energy of delusion” which has overtaken them, they are doing. We were not tried and condemned individually, but shared in Adam’s condemnation; and when our Lord Jesus died the just for the unjust, he died for Adam and his race; hence to deny that Adam will have an opportunity for life in the resurrection, is an outright denial of the ransom.
We urge all those “who were once enlightened” to arouse themselves from this “energy of delusion,” and come back to the Truth as the Lord gave it through the servant of His choosing: Brother Charles Taze Russell.
THE SOURCE OF THE DELUSION
Our Lord said: “and there shall arise false Christ, 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.
All would surely agree that any deception that would be at all likely to “deceive the very elect” would have to be a very good counterfeit of the Truth, and would have to come from within, from those who profess to be in the Truth, members of the Church.
That Brother Russell fully realized that the greatest deceivers would be found amongst those who had come to a knowledge of the Truth, is evident. We will quote a few paragraphs from a Watch Tower article on 2 Timothy 3:1-11 entitled:
“PERILOUS TIMES AT HAND”
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
“REALIZING that we are now living in the very times referred to by the Apostle, some may inquire, How can this be? Are not these times, in comparison with times past, especially favorable to the prosperity of the Church? Time was when fire and sword and guillotine and rack were systematically employed to exterminate the true saints of God, when the Word of God was a book prohibited, and when the prison and the dungeon rewarded the faithful searching of the Scriptures. And is there not also more Truth due and understood now than formerly, as well as full liberty (if a man is pleased to exercise it) to believe and teach, either in private or in public, whatever he believes to be Truth?
“Yes, such are the favorable conditions of our day. Never, in all the history of the Church, has there been a day of such privilege and blessing–such increase of knowledge and general intelligence, such facilities for the general diffusion of knowledge and such breadth of individual liberty–of conscience, of speech and of action–as today. The spirit of liberty is abroad in the earth, and though the wily enemies that once fettered and handcuffed and imprisoned it still live, and would fain imprison it as before, they regretfully realize that the soaring eagle is on the wing and may never be pinioned again. But hand in hand with all these advantages, strange to say, comes the Church’s greatest peril. True, there is little peril to physical life, or earthly property; but these, to the true saints, are of minor importance, for they count not their earthly life dear unto them if by any means they may attain the divine nature and glory to which they are called.
“MANNER OF APPROACH OF THESE TIMES
“The Apostle forewarns the Church, not only of the certainty of such perils, and of their character, but also of their manner of approach. On one occasion he said, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (Such were the great and destructive papal powers.) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29,30.) Some of these Paul and the early Church encountered in their day.
“MEN OF YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL ARISE SPEAKING PERVERSE THINGS”
“It should be observed also that the word men, in verse 2, is emphatic in the Greek text, as shown in the Emphatic Diaglott, thus indicating that a particular class of men is here referred to, which, according to the description, can be none other than those mentioned in Acts 20:29,30, viz., men “of your own selves (men of your own company, men whom you have hitherto regarded as members of the Body of Christ, and who still claim to be such), who shall arise speaking perverse things (perverting the Truth. …
“Well may we inquire, as we realize that we are living in the last days here referred to. Is there such a class of enemies to the Truth and to the Church actually in existence today? Truly, the voice of prophecy has never set up a false alarm, or foretold an uncertain event. The perilous times have come and the foretold perils are all about us. Side by side in the same communities with the humble, faithful, consecrated saints–in the same little assemblings together of those who have escaped from the bondage of Babylon, in the same households, and often at the same table of the Lord, there has also been developing a class who are “lovers of their own selves (selfish), covetous (of honors and distinction and the praise of men–ambitious), boasters (as though the credit of the Truth now due and received were in some way due to them, and as though they had a right therefore to alter and amend it at their pleasure), proud” (of that knowledge which should be received with only humility and thankfulness, and which can be retained only under these conditions).
“Because the light of the newly unfolding Truth has dawned upon their pathway, they, in common with the faithful saints, no longer are of the same mind as were their parents; but the goodness of God thus manifested to them, instead of cultivating in them a spirit of thankfulness and co-operation, which is its design, seems to arouse a spirit of pride and ambition, which does not long hesitate to make merchandise of the Truth for ambitious ends, however trivial and foolish those ends may be. And in pursuance of the ambitious policy, by degrees they become “evil-speakers (against the doctrine of Christ and those who believe and teach it), unkind, unfriendly to those that are good (who hold fast the Truth in righteousness), and false accusers” (of such). As they proceed in this way they seem to lose all former strength of Christian character. They become irreconcilable to the Truth, so that neither Scripture, nor reason, nor the example of the faithful, has power to restore them. Loving their own wills more than the will of God, they grow more and more proud and boastful of their attainments–high-minded and heady. Not submitting themselves to the Head of the Body, Christ Jesus, they are ambitious to head new factions themselves, and thus they turn traitors to the Truth. …
“THEIR POLICIES SHALL BE VERY SEDUCTIVE
“But there is another feature of the description of these false teachers, whose ambitions place so many perils in the pathway of the saints, which should not be overlooked. Verses 6 and 8 describe, or rather illustrate, the manner in which the influence of such teachers will be brought to bear upon the Church. Their opposition is not expressed in bold, defiant terms, and emphasized and enforced with vehemency. As here intimated, their policy is crafty, deceitful, sly, under pretentions of godliness, love of truth and zeal for the truth. …
“Their actual course is more particularly described in verse 8 thus: “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the Truth–men of corrupt minds (corrupted or turned aside from the Truth), reprobate concerning the faith.” Thus we are shown that the opposition to the Truth will be manifested in a subtle, deceptive course similar to that of those opposers of Moses. They opposed Moses by doing something similar to what he did, thus confusing the people. God had given Moses power to do certain miracles in order to prove to Israel that Moses was his Divinely empowered agent. And Satan forthwith empowered his agents to duplicate those miracles, which they did to some extent, not perfectly, thus endeavoring to confuse the minds of the people and to unsettle their confidence in Moses and his leading and teaching.
“Just so it is today. The studied effort of false teachers –false brethren developing in the very midst of the Church–is to offset the Truth by plausible forms of error, to unsettle confidence both in the Truth and in all teachers of the Truth, thus to lead away disciples after them and their theories. And in consequence of the allurements of these false teachers, and of the unfaithfulness of many to the love and service of the Truth which they have received, a class in the midst of the Church will give much encouragement to the ambitions of these false brethren; “for,” says the Apostle (2 Tim. 4:3,4), “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own desires (desires for something new) shall they gather to themselves teachers, having itching ears (for new and strange things); and they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
“Nor will this class be only a small minority; for, in order that the faithful may not be discouraged when brought face to face with these things, they are forewarned (Psa. 91:7) that, before this conflict ends, a thousand shall fall at their side and ten thousand at their right hand. Thus, realizing that God foreknew it all and that the accomplishment of his glorious purposes is not in the least endangered thereby, they may still have confidence and joy in view of the glorious consummation of his Plan, and of their promised position in it.
“FROM SUCH TURN AWAY”
“But how shall the faithful believers act towards these false brethren in their midst? Shall they take them by the hand, as formerly, and bid them God-speed? Shall they recognize them as brethren in Christ? Are they owned of God as sons? Shall we indeed walk with them and be guiltless? What does the Apostle say we shall do? He says, “From such turn away.” (verse 5.) “Be not ye partakers with them; for ye were formerly darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light…and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Eph. 5:6-11.) And the Apostle John (2 John 11) emphasizes Paul’s counsel, saying, “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 partaker of his evil deeds.” …
“We cannot serve two masters; we cannot espouse the cause of Truth and the cause of error as well; nor can we retain the friendship of God and of the advocates of error also. Who is on the Lord’s side? Let them rally around the Lord’s standard. All told, they will be only a “little flock.” Like Gideon’s band, the company now gathered by the proclamation of the harvest-message of Truth must be tested and sifted until only the loyal, faithful, true-hearted, brave and valiant soldiers of the cross remain; and to these, though their numbers be small, will the laurels of victory belong when Truth and righteousness finally prevail. Let no man boast of numbers now when the highest interests of the elect of God are all bound up with the faithful few, to whom it will be the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom.” (R4728)
“He that hath ears to hear, Let Him Hear.”