TABLE OF CONTENTS
MILLENNIAL DAWN: A COUNTERFEIT OF
(NOW KNOWN AS JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES OR
WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY)
BY PROFESSOR WILLIAM G. MOOREHEAD, D.D.,
UNITED PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, XENIA, OHIO
Six rather bulky volumes, comprising in all some 2,000 pages, are published
by the "Watch Tower and Tract Society" of Brooklyn, N.Y. The author of this work
is Mr. Charles T. Russell. Formerly his publications issued from "Zionís Watch
Tower", Pittsburgh, Pa. They then bore the somewhat ostentatious title,
"Millennial Dawn," (1886). The volumes now bear the more modest inscription,
"Studies in the Scriptures", (1911). Why the change in the title is made can
only be conjectured. Some rather severe criticism and strictures of the views
advocated in these books have brought Millennial Dawn into disrepute in the
minds of many people, and accordingly we think the former title has been dropped
and the later and less objectionable one substituted for it. Some color is given
to this conjecture by the fact that certain evangelical terms are applied to the
movement of which Mr. Russell is the head, as, e.g., "Peopleís Pulpit of
Brooklyn", "International Bible Studentsí League", "Brooklyn Tabernacle", "Bible
House and Tract Society", (Our Hope, Feb., 1911). The later title and the
various names now freely used tend to allay suspicion and to commend the
propaganda of Mr. Russell and his followers to the Christian public.
In the introduction to the first volume we are told that "our Society, realizing
the need, is seeking to do all in its power to ... lift Ďthe Lordís standard for
the peopleí. It has prepared six sets of Bible studies for Christian
people of all denominations .... These are supplied at bare cost". The whole six
volumes, "bound in cloth, embossed in silver", sell for the ridiculously small
sum of $2.25 ó 37Ĺ cents each! The object is to scatter this literature
throughout our country, Canada, and other lands, for we are assured that it is
translated into no less than a dozen different languages. So it is asserted in
the first volume.
Some idea of the circulation may be had from the statement made in the title
page of each of the first three volumes: "Series I. 3,358,000 edition". "Series
II. 1,132,000 edition". "Series III. 909,000 edition". The enormous circulation
of the books serves to show how industriously "Our Society" is propagating its
literature, and the vast number of readers it is reaching, i.e., if these
figures tell the truth! That the teaching of Dawnism has done immense harm is
certain; that it is calculated to subvert the faith of Christians by
substituting for the truth of Jesus Christ the calamitous doctrines of Mr.
Russell cannot be denied; for the whole system is anti- Scriptural,
anti-Christian, and a deplorable perversion of the Gospel of the Son of God.
In the discussion of the system it is the doctrines of Millennial Dawn that are
arraigned, not the author, Mr. Russell. It is conceivable that he is self
deceived, as some think, and that he believes that what he has published is the
truth of the Bible. This is within the range of possibility, of course.
Personally, however, the present writer withholds his assent to this opinion.
That Mr. Russell is being used of the Evil One to subvert the truth of God, that
the Christ he commends to men as an object of trust, love, and worship, is not
the Christ of God, is the profound conviction of not a few who are familiar With
his views. This is a grave indictment, but it is deliberately made. To establish
it beyond peradventure and contradiction is the aim of this paper. A summary
of the chief errors and heresies embodied in Millennial Dawn is here submitted.
Jesus, in His pre-human existence, was a spiritual being, higher than the
angels, but a creature. (Vol. I, pp. 177, 178, 179, 188). The book expressly
teaches that our Lord, prior to His incarnation and during His earthly life,
was only a creature, higher in the scale of being than other creatures, but
not God. "We are told that our Lord, before He left His glory to become a man,
was Ďin a form of Godí ó a spiritual form, a spirit being; but since to be a
ransom for mankind He had to be a man, of the same nature as the sinner whose
substitute in death He was to become, it was necessary that His nature be
changed. And Paul tells us that He took not the nature of angels, one step
lower down than His own, but that He came down two steps and took the nature
of man ó He Ďbecame a maní; He Ďwas made fleshí. Hebrews 2:16; Philippians
2:7,8; John 1:14."
"Notice that this teaches not only that angelic nature is not the only order
of spirit being, but that it is a lower nature than that of our Lord before He
became a man; and He was not then so high as He now is, for ĎGod hath highly
exalted Himí, because of His obedience in becoming manís willing ransom.
Philippians 2:8,9. He is now of the highest order of spirit being, a partaker
of the Divine (Jehovahís) nature". The book further asserts: "If this
principle be a correct one, it would show that God had no right to create
Jesus higher than the angels, and then further to exalt Him to the Divine
nature, unless He intended to do the same for all angels and for all men" (p.
There is no mistaking the significance of this teaching. Jesus Christ was
originally a created being, but as a reward of His obedience unto death He is
now exalted to be God! This is worse than the doctrine of Arius the Libyan
which the Council of Nicea so solemnly condemned, of modern Unitarians which
all evangelical Christians repudiate.
Over against this fundamental error, one that does the Lord Jesus infinite
dishonor and robs us of an Almighty Saviour, we place the inspired Word of
Scripture, John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God". By the Word of course is meant the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Three
majestic truths are here set forth:
The Wordís eternity ó "In the beginning" ó the noun is without the
article; it is unmarked, uncounted duration that is meant. "Was", not came
into existence; He was already in existence, before the creation of the
universe; therefore prior to all beginning, in a timeless age which
transcends time, in eternity, Christ was. Millennial Dawn says there was a
time when Christ was not; the Apostle John affirms there never was a time
when He was not.
His eternal personal existence is maintained: "The Word was with God";
His equality with God, for John goes on to ascribe to Him creation.
His Deity: "And the Word was God". Most emphatic is the order of the
words in the original: "And God was the Word". Jesus Christ was no
subordinate or created being.
"Who subsisting in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality
with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a
servant" Philippians 2:6-11, R.V. It is here taught that Christ existed in the
form of God. "The form of a thing is the mode in which it reveals itself; and
that is determined by its nature". John Chrysostom long ago said: "It is not
possible to be of one essence and to have the form of another". Christ existed
in the form of God because He Himself is God. Hence the Apostle asserts that
He was Godís equal, but in His self-abasement He did not hold fast to this
equality but emptied Himself of it, and instead took the lowly form of a
bond-servant. His humiliation presupposes His former dignity and glory. Had He
not been infinitely more than a created being, it would have been no
renunciation to become a servant; that He already was, according to the
blasphemous teaching of Dawnism. Out of such a condition He could never have
The highest angel in heaven, far from having to stoop in order to become a
servant, is but a servant and can never be aught else. But the very fact that
He did humble Himself, even unto the death of the cross, is positive proof
that He was no created being, no mere man, but God over all and blessed
forever. Romans 9:5.
But even in His amazing self-abasement He did not renounce His glorious
attributes as a Divine Person: He veiled them beneath His lowly human garb,
save when occasion demanded their display. Both Omnipotence and Omniscience
belonged to Him while on earth, and He often exhibited both in the sight of
men. The proof of this is abundant and conclusive.
In the incarnation our Lord had but one nature, not two natures, as
Christians have always held. (Series I. pp. 179,180,184). We quote:
"Neither was Jesus a combination of the two natures, human and spiritual. The
blending of two natures produces neither the one nor the other, but an
imperfect, hybrid thing, which is obnoxious to the Divine arrangement. When
Jesus was in the flesh He was a perfect human being; previous to that He was a
perfect spiritual being; and since His resurrection He is a perfect spiritual
being of the highest or Divine orderÖ Thus we see that in Jesus there was no
mixture of natures, but that twice He experienced a change of nature; first,
from spiritual to human; afterward, from human to the highest order of
spiritual nature, the Divine; and in each case the one was given up for the
other." Ö "We have no record of any being, either spiritual or human, ever
having been changed from one nature to another, except the Son of God; and
this was an exceptional case, for an exceptional purposeÖ Thus we find that
the Scriptures regard the spiritual and human natures as separate and
distinct, and furnish no evidence that the one will evolve or develop into the
other" ... Here again there is no mistaking the teaching of Millennial Dawn.
Before Christ appeared in human form among men He was a spirit being of a very
high rank, but a creature. When He became a man His spirit nature was somehow
dropped; it was not united with the human, it was not even merged into the
human, it was "changed" into the purely and distinctively human nature, so
that while on earth and during the whole period of His earthly life He was a
man, only a man, perfect indeed, but a man with nothing superhuman or
supernatural in Him or about Him. The spirit being ceased to be. The book
asserts with a positive ness that error always assumes, that in Jesus Christ
"there was no mixture of natures". The vital doctrine of the incarnation of
the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, is denied, and Christ is
degraded to the level of Adam before his sin and fall. In short, the book
virtually affirms that there was no incarnation whatever.
It appears needless to point out how completely and thoroughly the Word of God
contradicts this false and degrading view of our Lordís blessed Person. Let
but a few texts be cited as evidence that Christ did actually assume our human
nature, sinless of course, but true and genuine human nature.
John 1:14: "And the Word was made [became, R. V.] flesh and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)
full of grace and truth". Mark the prominent features of this great Scripture:
The Word, Christ, became flesh; He did not cease to be the Word in doing
so; His incarnation was neither self-extinction, nor was He changed into a
He still remained the Word after He had assumed the human nature, for we
are assured that "He dwelt among us", obviously the Word dwelt among us, for
the pronoun He has the Word for its antecedent.
The term "dwelt" literally is "tabernacled", an allusion to the
tabernacle of the wilderness. God said, "And let them make me a sanctuary
that I may dwell among them". And He symbolically did dwell in the Most Holy
Place where the Shechinah appeared. So John affirms, "We beheld His glory",
as at the Transfiguration. What was anciently seen in the tabernacle was
witnessed in a far more vivid way on the Mount when Moses with Elijah
appeared in glory and talked with the incarnate Son of God. Compare with
this the further revelation of the same Apostle, 1 John 1:1-3, where three
of the most trustworthy of our senses, hearing, sight, touch, are summoned
to bear witness to the reality of the presence and glory of the Word of Life
as He sojourned among men.
"Only begotten" Unigenitus. As used in Scripture this term always
designates a single person in the household. As applied to Christ it occurs
only in Johnís writings; here, 1:18; 3:16,18; 1 John 4:9. It marks off His
sonship as unique, unshared by any others, even from those who are called
the sons of God.
John 16:28: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world:
again, I leave the world, and go to the Father". From God, into the world,
from the world back to God. Eternal Sonship with the Father (Greek, came out
from); incarnation; exaltation; oneness with the Father, procession from the
Father; redemption completed. He is the God-man, uniting two natures in one,
distinct yet mysteriously constituting but one personality.
1Timothy 3:16: "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen
of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up
into glory." Even if we substitute the revised reading of this great
rhythmical verse it still testifies to the theanthropic person of our Lord:
"He who was manifested in the flesh", etc. The plain and emphatic teaching is,
that Christ, the Son of God, was manifested, i.e., the invisible, eternal Son
who dwelt in the bosom of the Father, has been made visible and is brought
nigh to us in that He has taken into union with Himself human flesh. He was
justified in the Spirit, i.e., He was proved to be what He claimed to be, the
Son of God; He was seen and served by angels; was preached unto the Gentiles
as a Divine Saviour, and believed on as such; and finally was received up into
glory. There we have the inspired history of the incarnation, the earthly life
and ministry, and the exaltation of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God.
One other Scripture must give its solemn warning against any and all who deny
that Jesus Christ assumed our nature and was incarnated in human flesh: "Every
spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and
every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God; and this is that spirit
of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh, and now it is in the
world" 1 John 4:2,3.
The atonement of Jesus Christ was that of a mere man. (Study ix.)
Millennial Dawnism reiterates to weariness that Christ during His sojourn on
earth was only and solely a human being. Even the spirit nature He had before
coming into the world was changed into a man and so ceased to be. His death,
therefore, was a creatureís death; His sacrifice only human; His atonement a
mere manís. What a wretched caricature of Christís person and work! What an
inadequate and puerile conception it denotes of Divine justice and law, and of
manís guilt and ruin by sin! Scripture testifies that man, by his wealth, by
his righteousness, by his self-sacrifice, can never redeem himself, much less
his fellow man. Psalm 49:6-12; Matthew 25:8,9. God claims this for Himself; He
has found a ransom, He Himself is the Saviour of men, and He has laid help on
His Fellow, His Equal, even Jesus our Lord. Everywhere in Scripture the
sinnerís justification before God rests upon what Paul describes as "the
righteousness of God" Romans 3:21-26; 4:1-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians
3:9, etc.. That is, it is a Divine righteousness, provided in the Lord Jesus
Christ and offered to all men who hear the Gospel. It is not a mere manís
righteousness at all that we have in Christ; it is Godís own righteousness,
and therefore it meets and satisfies every claim upon us whether of law, or
justice, or satisfaction to God, or holiness. The Apostle Paul does not shrink
from ascribing even divinity to the blood of Christ: "Feed the flock of God
which He hath purchased with His own blood" Acts 20:28. An uninspired man
would never have dared to write so amazing, so matchless words as these. Of
their genuineness there is ample proof.
The body of Jesus was not raised up from death. (Series II, pp.
125- 130). To explain the disappearance of the body which was crucified the
book says: "Our Lordís human body was, however, supernaturally removed from
the tomb; because had it remained there it would have been an insurmountable
obstacle to the faith of the disciples. We know nothing about what became of
it, except that it did not decay or corruptÖ Whether it was dissolved into
gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of
Godís love, of Christís obedience, and of our redemption, no one knows; nor is
such knowledge necessary" (pp. 129,130). In Series I, p. 231 we read: "Jesus,
therefore, at and after His resurrection, was a spirit ó a spirit being, and
no longer a human being in any sense".
Wicked and disastrous as are the teachings of Millennial Dawn noted above,
this is immeasurably worse, if that be possible. Here the climax in audacity
and falsehood is reached. For here the basal, the vital truth on which
Christianity rests, viz., the absolute certainty of Christís literal and
bodily resurrection is denied, is utterly perverted in the face of the
testimony of the Four Gospels, of all the Epistles, and of the Revelation, and
of the glorified Son of God Himself. If Christ be not risen from the dead,
then Christianity is wiped out as a supernatural system, and Christians are of
all men the most pitiable, the most fearfully deceived. The heresiarchs of the
early centuries, Cerinthus, Marcion, Valentinus were not more daring nor more
destructive in their wild vagaries than is the author of these books. The lie
invented by the chief priests and elders that His disciples stole His body
away during the night while the soldiers slept is less shocking than the
baseless and wicked speculation that it was dissolved into gas! To the devout,
believing mind, nothing scarcely could be more blasphemous or dreadful than
this slander. A thousand years before He appeared in human form the Spirit of
God promised Him that His flesh should rest in hope, that it should not see
corruption. Psalm 16:9,10; Acts 2:26-28. We know from the record how careful,
how anxious we may almost say, Divine Providence was that His body after His
death should be protected; hence the Roman guard, the new tomb wherein man
never had lain, the official seal, the watch of angels, Godís mighty guard,
all combined to protect and safeguard the sacred remains until the
resurrection. Then the disciples, Mary of Magdala, James the Lordís brother
Galatians 1:19, Peter, John, all saw Him alive in His own veritable body;
talked with Him, walked with Him, even ate with Him. "Dissolved into gas"!
Shocking, most shocking!
We learn from the narrative of the Gospels that the risen Saviour appeared to
the disciples five times on that memorable first day of the week, that some
six times besides He was seen by them; and how often besides during the forty
days elapsing between His resurrection and His ascension we are not told. But
we know full well that He gave His disciples proof on proof of the reality of
His resurrection, that the very body in which He suffered and died on the
cross was now risen in the power of an endless life. He was and still is,
"This same Jesus".
Some slight curiosity was felt to see what the author of Millennial Dawn would
do with the repeated appearances of the Lord. Here is how he disposes of them:
"The creating of the body and clothing in which He appeared to them, in the
very room in which they were gathered, was proof unquestionable that Christ
was no longer a human being. As a human being He could not come into the room
without opening the door, but as a spirit He could, and there He instantly
created and assumed such body of flesh and such clothing as He saw fit for the
purpose intended." The writer totally ignores the supreme fact that the Lordís
resurrection body, while retaining its identify, was a spiritual body 1
Corinthians 15:44, i.e., a body perfectly adapted to the spirit and its
conditions; accordingly, it was no longer under the sway of the natural laws
which govern other material bodies. For the notion that Christ instantly
created a body with its appropriate dress each time He appeared to His
disciples there is not the most distant hint in the entire Bible a notion
invented by the exigencies of a theory. The Saviourís own words to His
affrighted disciples appear to be designed to forestall such a silly and
absurd idea: "Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I myself; handle Me and see; for a
spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have" Luke 24:36-40.
After His resurrection Jesus became Divine. (Series I, pp. 178,179;
Series II, pp. 107,108,131,155). The teaching is, that as a reward for His
perfect obedience Jesus was exalted after His death to the highest nature, the
Divine. For this Christ-dishonoring doctrine there is not a shred of
Scripture. Christís exaltation is always joined with His bodily resurrection
from the dead, and with His glorious person as the God-man Mediator. Acts
2:32-36; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:19-23; Philippians 2:6-11; 1 Thessalonians
1:9,10; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 3:16; Hebrews 1:3,4; 1 Peter 3:21,22; Revelation
1:17,18. The Lord Jesus did not and could not become Divine at His exaltation,
for He was Divine from eternity. Can a mere creature become a sharer in the
Godhead, and be endowed with the infinity and the almightiness of God? Is not
the Divine Essence incommunicable? Believers are indeed said to be partakers
of the Divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4, but this does not mean that they partake of
the perfections of the Almighty. "Partakers of Christ" Hebrews 3:14 is exactly
But, was there a resurrection of Christ at all if Dawnism teaches the truth?
His body was not raised; "He is no longer human in any sense or degree", we
are told. His human spirit did not die, for He commended it to His Father. He
promised the penitent thief that "this day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise",
and it was His spirit that should be in that blessed place. The spirit being
He had before His advent was changed into His human spirit, it did not retain
a separate existence at all. Well then, Who or what was raised up?
The books furnish unmistakable evidence that Mr. Russell holds that a
particular class of the saved, called the "little flock", will share with
Jesus in the possession of the Divine nature. This notion is taught with
caution and reserve, but hints of it are met with here and there in the
volumes. One can easily guess who constitute this favored company. On meeting
with it one is instantly reminded of the lie of Satan, "Ye shall be as God"
The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ took place in October, 1874.
(Vol. II, 187,199; 234-245). This startling announcement is reached by a
process of chronological and mathematical reasoning founded partly on the
Hebrew Jubilee years. Of the results of his calculations Mr. Russell
entertains no misgiving. He is persuaded, or affirms that he is, the Lord
actually came to our earth in the fall of 1874 and He is now present here.
(Vol. II, 240). Accordingly, the glorified Son of God has already been in the
world personally and literally for thirty-seven years! In reading this amazing
statement which is made again and again one stares, and rubs his eyes and
stares. Old-fashioned Christians have for centuries believed that the glorious
advent of Christ will be accompanied by the most majestic tokens of the Divine
Presence and the most stupendous changes and revolutions in both earth and
sky. They are profoundly convinced that the Word of God warrants such
anticipation; nay, it is because of the Lordís own testimony touching this
mighty event that they thus believe and expect. But this period of
thirty-seven years since 1874 differs but little if at all from any other
thirty-seven years during a thousand years. Nay, the student of history could
point out period after period in the last five hundred years marked by
immensely more tragic events than any of this.
As if to put us on guard against being deceived by plausible arguments and
evidences of His presence our Lord has with most solemn words warned us: "Then
if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or Here; believe it not
.... If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the wilderness; go
not forth: Behold, He is in the inner chambers; believe it not. For as the
lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall
be the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:23-27, R. V.). Mr. Russell
refuses to accept the word "lightning", and he substitutes for it "bright
shining", and makes it refer to the sunís rising. He does so to escape the
idea of the suddenness of the advent as symbolized by the lightningís flash,
for this rendering would contradict his theory that Christís "presence" is
gradually disclosed, that He may be long on the earth and but few (the
Dawnists only) be cognizant of the stupendous fact. As usual he is totally
mistaken. Every version examined (five English, three Italian, the Vulgate and
the Spanish); every Lexicon (Thayer, Green, Liddell and Scott, Sophocles, and
Vincentís Word Studies), translate the Greek word "lightning". Attention is
called to this particular instance of mistranslation of Scripture for the
reason that it is but a sample of the uniform effort to empty every text of
its true meaning if it in any wise denies Millennial Dawnism. Scores of such
abuses of Scripture as the above are encountered in these books; nay, the
characteristic features of this vicious system betray Biblical perversion at
For example, Paulís three supernatural accompanists of the advent, the
"shout", the "voice of the archangel", and the "trump of God" 1 Thessalonians
4:16 are all symbols and denote the agitation, dissatisfaction, and
restlessness everywhere manifest throughout the civilized world since 1874! So
we are oracularly told. If this be all the Apostle meant, then we must confess
that the "majesty of the prediction is lost in the poverty of its
fulfillment." Let one other text be mentioned ó Revelation 6:16: "Fall on us
[cover, protect] and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne."
"The thought is that of protection, not of destruction. The real fulfillment
is already beginning."
Furthermore, according to the plain teaching of Scripture the resurrection of
the saints takes place at the Lordís Coming. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1
Thessalonians 4:13-18. It appears also that the two events are contemporaneous
and simultaneous; the Lordís Coming, even before He reaches the earth, effects
the rising of sleeping saints and the transformation of living believers, when
both together are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. 1
Thessalonians 4:16,17. We are assured that this majestic event will occur in
"a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet
shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be
changed, 1 Corinthians 15:51. Millennial Dawn likewise teaches that the
resurrection takes place at the Lordís advent, but not immediately; four years
lie between the Lordís "presence" on earth and the resurrection of the saints;
the one occurs in 1874, the other in 1878. (Vol. III, pp. 234-5; 302-306). We
read: "That in the spring of 1878 all the holy apostles and other Ďovercomersí
of the Gospel age who slept in Jesus were raised spirit beings, like unto
their Lord and Master"Ö "The Lord Jesus and the risen saints already here
[are] engaged in the great harvest work." Ö "Such is the present situation:
the great Judge has come ó not as at the first advent, in a body of
humiliation, for sacrifice, but in the plenitude of His power as a spirit
being". "And while we conclude that their resurrection is now an accomplished
fact, and hence that they as well as the Lord are now present in the earth,
the fact, that we do not see them is no obstacle to faith when we remember
that, like their Lord, they are now spirit beings, and, like Him, invisible to
men". Since 1874 Jesus Christ has been dwelling on the earth; since 1878 the
risen saints have also been sojourning on the earth; and no mortal has the
slightest inkling of it save C. T. Russell and his followers!
All this is sufficiently astounding, but these notions stand not alone. Other
marvelous things are encountered in the volumes we are reviewing. "The spring
of 1878 marks the date when the nominal church systems were Ďspewed outí
Revelation 3:16, and from that time (A.D. 1878) they are not the mouth-pieces
of God, nor in any degree recognized by Him" Ö "We recognize A.D. 1881 as
marking the close of special favor to Gentiles ó the close of the
Ďhigh-callingí, or invitation to the blessings peculiar to this age ó to
become joint-heirs with Christ and partakers of the Divine nature" (Vol. 235).
It requires courage or .recklessness to make the above statements. For
thirty-three years the evangelical churches have been without Divine
recognition, "spewed out" of the Lordís mouth! And yet during this same period
the Gospel has been carried into the most hopelessly degraded and ignorant
sections of our planet by the most devoted and truly apostolic servants of
Jesus Christ since the first century. For thirty years all special favor to
the Gentiles has ceased! This in the face of the most fruitful years of
missions for almost ten centuries. The Dawnists have matchless courage. For
bald assertion their equals it would be hard to find.
The final consummation of the age will take place in October, 1914.
(Vol. II, p. 234, Vol. III, p. 153). This date, 1914, as terminating
absolutely the present order of things of the world, is taken as fixed beyond
doubt or peradventure. Dozens of times the writer of these books sets it down
as positive and unalterable. He finds its parallel in the ministry and the
rejection of the Saviour by the Israelites, A.D. 33 to A.D. 70, when
Jerusalemís overthrow occurred and the Jews went into an exile which still
endures. So the "harvest", or the final testing, runs from A.D. 1874 to 1914
when Gentile rule will be destroyed, Christendom be annihilated, all wrong
end, and righteousness and peace fill the redeemed world. It is then that the
Millennium, so long expected and so long yearned after, finally comes and the
planet celebrates its glad, its unending jubilee!
One grows weary of this everlasting attempt to fix chronologically the end of
the age. For nearly a thousand years men, many of them devout and earnest
Christians, have been quite sure that they had discovered the key of
chronological prophecy and confidently announced the time of the end. Awhile
before the year A.D. 1000 the world became panic stricken, for it was believed
that date would coincide with the final judgment and worldís end. Miller,
Cumming, Elliott, Dimbleby, Totten, and one does not know how many more, tried
their hands at fixing the date of the consummation, on chronological and
astronomical grounds: they settled both day and date with exactness, and
ignominiously failed, of course. Mark 13:32 should stop this nonsense, but
alas, it does not.
But three years remain of our age. One can readily perceive what enthusiasm
the nearness of the end must arouse in the hearts of believers in Mr.
Russellís dates. If but three years lie between us and the cosmical
revolutions and convulsions which will shake the earth to its foundations,
then why should Dawnists cling to their property and tightly grip their money.
Soon it will not be needed, wealth will be worthless and bonds have no market.
It is no surprise, therefore, that Mr. Russellís followers pour a continuous
stream into the Watch Tower treasury, nor that sermons can be printed in
multitudes of newspapers all over the land, nor that great halls can be hired
for lectures, nor that these volumes can be sold at 37 cents a copy.
At the final resurrection, which is simultaneous for all the dead save
"the little flock", the Gospel will be preached to the unsaved and the great
mass of mankind will accept it and be saved. (Vol. I, Study 6, 8, 9). The
preaching to the unsaved dead now at length raised up will last for one
hundred years at least, and it may continue throughout the entire day of
Christ, i.e., during the Millennium (p. 144). There are two world-wide
judgments recorded in the Bible, that of the nations, Matthew 25:31-46; and
that of Revelation 20:11-15 ó the judgment before the Great White Throne, and
which seems to be confined exclusively to the dead, small and great. The two
include the race except the saints who come not into judgment as to life and
death John 5:24. In neither of these judgments is there a hint that
opportunity will be had for those arrayed before these thrones to repent,
believe, and be saved. On the contrary, their eternal destiny is fixed by the
Almighty Judge. Note how all-embracing these two judgments are; the one
includes "all the nations", the other, "the dead, small and great". None
escape save those who have part in "the first resurrection" Revelation 20:4-6.
In both cases eternal doom, irreparable and indescribable, falls upon the
impenitent and ungodly who rejected Christ in this world and life.
Moreover, the judgment before the Great White Throne is expressly said to
follow the thousand years: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the
thousand years were finished" Revelation 20:5. "The rest of the dead" include
all who have no part in the first resurrection. Mr. Russell labors vigorously
to cast doubt on the genuineness of Revelation 20:5. He seeks to negate its
witness, for it squarely contradicts his theory that all the dead who share
not in the first resurrection will be raised at the beginning of the Thousand
Years, and they will then be given the opportunity to repent and be saved. But
as usual he is quite wrong. He stands alone in his rejection of the verse.
Every critical Greek text from Griesbach to Nestle. and Swete (1907) retains
the words, nor does one of these scholars cherish the slightest suspicion of
Two other errors of this vicious system can be no more than mentioned, not
expanded, by reason of the limits to which this paper must needs be confined.
One of these, the ninth error, essential and fundamental in Christianity, is
the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. There is a strange and ominous silence
regarding this most important subject very apparent in the writings of Mr.
Russell. A careful reading of these volumes comprising more than a
thousand pages has discovered but one solitary reference to the Spirit; it is
a casual mention of the Spirit in connection with the Day of Pentecost. The
statement is simply made as a historical fact, or rather as an event which
marks a stage in the development of the Christian Church. Not one word of
teaching has the writer found in Millenial Dawn as to the distinct personality
of the Spirit, or as to His supreme agency in the salvation of sinners. To Him
is ascribed in the Bible the regeneration, sanctification and spiritual growth
of the believer. How vast the place that is assigned to Him in Scripture, in
Creation, in the training of Israel for their mission, in the inspiration of
the Old Testament prophets and psalmists, in the enduement of Christ Himself
for His work of redemption, in the planting and training of the Christian
Church, in the gifts bestowed on the apostles and prophets, in the guidance of
the Church by its chosen teachers, and in the inspired writers of the New
Testament, all attentive readers of Scripture know. Shortly before His
crucifixion the Lord Jesus left with His disciples this majestic promise: "And
I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter ... even the
Spirit of truth." "Another Comforter," that is, one instead of Himself, one
like Himself and one that would continue and complete His own great revelation
John 14:16-18,26; 15:26,27; 16:7-14. On the Day of Pentecost this promise was
fulfilled by the gift of the Spirit in marvellous power and efficiency. But
Russellism is totally and criminally silent touching this mighty truth.
Mr. Russell is in no Biblical sense a Trinitarian. He ignores the person and
work of the Spirit in his system of doctrine and has nothing to supply His
place save his own views of the Word of God. Even the Son of God he affirms
was once a creature, then a mere man, but now at length exalted to be Divine.
This is in plain contradiction to Godís own solemn assertion in Isaiah
43:10,11: "Ye are My witnesses, saith Jehovah, and My servant whom I have
chosen; that ye may know and believe Me. and understand that I am He: before
Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am
Jehovah; and besides Me there is no Saviour." Nor is he a monotheist.
According to his teaching, there are other gods besides Jehovah. The "little
flock" he holds are likewise to become sharers of the Divine nature and be
exalted even as Jesus was. Here, therefore, the inference is quite plain,
namely, that Mr. Russell admits a plurality of gods.
In all this there is a curious analogy between Russellís theology and
Mormonism; for Mormonism likewise holds that there are many gods; each of
these was once a human being like we are and has grown by evolution into a
god. One of the teachers of Mormonism, Brigham Young, affirms that Adam is our
father and our God, the only God with whom we have to do. Millennial Dawn is
essentially polytheistic; and as it has always happened with polytheism, this
system, should it endure, will ultimately sink into idolatry.
The other error relates to the destiny of the wicked. On scarcely
any other point does Mr. Russell so constantly and persistently dwell as on
the doctrine of future and eternal punishment. He denies without qualification
that the wicked, the lost, suffer in another life. As usual with him, the
teaching of the Bible on this terrible theme he either evades or gives it a
typical interpretation. The grotesque subject of one of his most popular
lectures, a lecture he has delivered throughout our country, in Canada, and
also in England, and published in a vast number of papers and periodicals, is
"To Hell and Back Again." Crowds have listened with no little satisfaction to
his assertions that there is no hell, no eternal punishment, and no
hopelessness after death. He holds that in the resurrection which is to
include both the righteous and the wicked, the gospel of salvation shall be
preached to all who did not receive it, though having heard, while in this
life, and to those who never had the opportunity while in the earthly life to
hear and believe. For one hundred years the preaching to these classes shall
continue and the great mass of them will believe and enter into eternal life.
Those who persistently refuse the offer of salvation and reject the Lordís
mercy will be annihilated; an act of Divine power will blot them out of
existence forever. It needs but a remark or two in order to convince any
honest and right-minded person that such teaching is not only unscriptural but
the very opposite. Our Lord Himself, Jesus Christ the Son of God, revealed
more of the eternal punishment of the lost than any other witness of God in
the Bible. In twelve texts of the New Testament He speaks of the place where
the wicked are confined as Gehenna, and in each save one the words of most
solemn warning as to the eternal consequences of sin fell from His own lips.
He describes it as the place where their worm never dies and where the fire is
never quenched. He teaches that the punishment of the lost is of the same
duration as the life of the saved ó eternal. (Matthew 25:46.) In the
Revelation it is called the lake of fire and the second death. These are the
terms that are used to depict the eternal state of the wicked. The second
death is not annihilation. We read in Revelation 19:20; 20:10 that after a
thousand years in the lake of fire the Beast and the False Prophet are still
there undestroyed. It is a forbidding theme, appalling to the natural heart,
but nevertheless one clearly taught in the Scriptures that the rejecters of
Jesus Christ, the haters of God, will be punished with everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.
SUMMARY OF THE FALSE DOCTRINES OF MILLENNIAL
Christ before His advent was not Divine.
When He was in the world He was still not Divine.
His atonement was exclusively human, a mere manís.
Since His resurrection He is Divine only, no longer human at all.
His body was not raised from the dead.
His Second Advent took place in 1874.
The saints were raised up in 1878.
Both Christ and the saints are now on earth and have been for thirty
seven and thirty-three years respectively.
The professing Christian Church was rejected of God in 1878.
The final consummation and end will take place in 1914.
Silence as to the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
The destiny of the wicked.
Such is the Millennial Dawn of C. T. Russell, a mixture of Unitarianism,
Universalism, Second Probation, and Restorationism, and the Swedenborgian method
of exegesis. Let the reader remember that imposition is not exposition, nor is
eisegesis exegesis. Mr. Russell constantly employs both; he imposes on Scripture
his own views and reads into it that which never entered the mind of the
inspired writer. May God in His infinite mercy preserve His people from being
deceived and betrayed by this counterfeit of Christianity.
1. The American Revision has "The Church of the Lord." It
stands alone in this reading. The English Revision and the critical texts of
Alford, Westcott and Hort. Scrivener, Weymouth and Nestle retain "Church of
God". The phrase occurs often in Paulís writings, never once "The Church of the
Lord". One can perceive why "Church of God" should be changed into "Church of
the Lord," but it is difficult to see why if Paul wrote "Church of the Lord" it
should be turned into "Church of God."
TABLE OF CONTENTS